China’s Copyright Undertaking

Revised copyright law meets demands of the times

Updated: Jun 11, 2021 China IP News Print
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What is behind the revision?

On June 1, 2021, the revised copyright law went into force. When the amendment was launched for the third time in 2011, the target was clarified to make a new law aligned with the digital economy and the reality and with an eye on the world and the future. The ten-year revision journey fully demonstrates the open and scientific legislative spirits, meets the needs of the digital age and appropriately connects with the civil code and the international copyright treaties.

What are the changes on adapting with the technological progress?

As changes in channels and approaches of content distribution happened following technological advancements, how to protect the newcomers has been a lingering challenge for the digital content industry. In this regard, the revised law tweaked the definition of works and their types in the Article 3. For example, the definition of works is changed to "intellectual achievements that are original in the fields of literature, art and science, and can be expressed in a certain form" and the expression of "cinematographic works and works created in a way similar to cinematography" is adjusted to "audiovisual works", all of which mean that the scope of copyright protection is further expanded.

In a bid to follow the technical development trend, the revision clarifies relevant rules and laws involving the application of digital technology. For example, provisions related to "digitized" reproduction of works are added.

What are the relevant measures to crack down on infringements?

In an effort to tackle the lingering problems in copyright protection, such as high-cost and time-consuming litigation, the new law adds punitive damages to improve the cost of infringement, raising the maximum of the statutory damages to 5 million yuan and the minimum to 500 yuan and allowing courts to award punitive damages equal to the amount of regular damages but no more than five times for intentional and malicious infringements.

How does the new law keep consistent with international treaties?

China has positively kept in line with international treaties,  fulfilling international obligations and constructing its own identity as a great nation. The revision reinforces the link with international treaties likewise. For instance, the provision of performers' rental rights in Paragraph 8 of Article 52 is consistent with the relevant regulations in the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. According to the new law, the manner of "providing published works to a dyslexic person in a perceivable and accessible way" is regarded as reasonable use of copyright, laying a basis for China to approve Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.


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