The new Copyright Law which comes into effect on Tuesday marks a milestone in China’s efforts to better protect intellectual property rights and is expected to influence entertainment and News broadcasts.
That it took almost half a year to implement the new law since the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, decided to amend the law on Nov 11, demonstrates the importance the authorities attached to the law’s amendment.
The amended law encourages copyright owners to use economic leverage to better protect their rights. It states that damages exceeding the normal compensation amount and less than five times the amount can be claimed in serious infringement cases, raising the legal compensation ceiling from 500,000 yuan ($78,540) to 5 million yuan.
The new law also adjusts the burden of proof for infringement damages, stipulating that if the violator refuses to submit relevant materials to show income from the infringement, or provides false materials, the burden of proof on the rights holder can be reduced. The court can even determine the amount of compensation by referring to the claim and evidence provided by the rights holder. This means that if people or enterprises violating copyrights want to hide the real income by fabricating accounts, they may end up paying higher amounts as penalty.
The new law thus expands the scope of copyright protection for cinematographic works, helping them better defend their rights. This not only conforms to relevant international treaties but will also help protect the copyright for new types of works in the audiovisual industry. For example, the legal status of new audio-visual programs, such as short videos and live games, has always been difficult to assess and can only be protected under the banner of “film-related works”. The new law, however, makes it clear that the copyright of any audiovisual work may be protected if it meets the statutory conditions of “originality”.
Intellectual property rights protection has a bearing on the modernization of China’s governance system, governance capacity, higher-quality development, people’s well-being, and overall opening-up and national security. The new Copyright Law, which has been in the making for a decade, embodies the achievements of China’s internet applications and is a big step toward building China into an IPR power.