displayrights.com logo

Copyright Law In China: More Advanced Than You’d Think

Closeup of Flag of china - Copyright Law In China: More Advanced Than You'd Think

Protecting content and controlling its use ...

Some in the West might assume that copyright law in China doesn’t exist, but this is quite wrong. China has been a signatory to the Berne Convention on copyright since 1992 …

Indeed, with recent changes, it could be argued that copyright law in China is now as advanced, as comprehensive, and as protective of the rights of content creators and intellectual property owners as anywhere in the world.

China’s copyright law was first enacted in 1990 and was revised and updated in 2001, 2010, and most recently in November 2020. It is the latter revision that we will look at today. The 2020 revision of the copyright law is set to take effect on June 1st 2021!

Hitherto, much uncertainty has existed when filing copyright lawsuits in China. However, the latest amendments are an attempt to bring clarity to this area of law while bringing it up-to-date in other ways.

The 2020 revision of the copyright law lists numerous activities that from June 2021 will be classed as copyright infringement, many of which parallel copyright law in other jurisdictions, such as the UK. Infringements will also mirror economic and moral rights that exist in most other countries with copyright protection.

Some of the acts that the new copyright law in China deems as an infringement are listed below:

Reproduction: as in the UK, Chinese copyright law will not allow the reproduction of a copyrighted work where no consent or license has been granted by the rights holder.

Distribution: the act of making the work available by selling, renting or lending without permission from the rights-holder will be classed as an offence.

Using intentional measures that will allow someone to circumvent copyright protection of a work will also be classed as an infringement. This also comes with an amendment that increases the amount of damages if the act is done so knowingly.

The new copyright law in China will also now acknowledge ‘serious and wilful’ infringement of copyright, although there is little knowledge as to how the courts will interpret these two elements in practice.

Alongside these changes, China is considering the implementation of a new administrative authority for copyright. There is no definitive indication yet as to how exactly this will work. However, there are similar authorities in place for China’s trademark law, and, in consequence, one for copyright seems likely.

These changes bring copyright law up to date with other intellectual property law in China!

Copyright law in China, as in the UK, does not require any registration or notice. At the same time, similar to China’s patent law, the 2021 copyright law amendments see a significant change to the burden of proof. The burden is now set on the defendant to evidence that they are not infringing the claimant’s work, as a court will deem the author to be the rights holder unless evidence to the contrary is presented … such as a usage license or a rights transfer agreement.

In short, from June 2021, the copyright law in China considerably strengthens the position of rights holders, making it easier for them to protect their content and control its use. It also makes unauthorized use riskier.

In such circumstances, it makes sense to secure a license before using their work.
More About Licensing and Copyright
Like to know more?

If anything I’ve written in this blog post resonates with you and you’d like to discover more about, get in touch with us or leave a comment below and let’s see how we can help you.


About DisplayRights

In 2003, DisplayRights, formally known as Executive Interviews, recognised the rising demand for online video, specifically in the corporate sector, and relaunched itself as a company focused on the recording, repackaging, and rights distribution of television and radio news interviews. Since then, DisplayRights has expanded to become a full-service, global company recording over 150,000 interviews and news clips annually. DisplayRights is headquartered in the UK, with wholly-owned subsidiaries in the United States and Asia.
As the needs of our clients change, so do we! We have now fully rebranded to DisplayRights to better reflect what we do, which now includes talks and presentations as well as executive interviews. We hope that our new brand can better serve how our content partners and clients want to work with us.
We are proudly partnered with the world’s leading business news networks, providing their guests with timely, professionally-produced, and fully licensed video clips to post to their public websites or corporate Intranets, use at trade shows, investor conferences, corporate meetings, and more.
In addition, we now offer registered access to more than 16,000 thought leadership videos from leading educational networks which can be accessed free of charge by anyone, helping them learn, grow and thrive.

Telephone: +44 1908 041290

displayrights.com logo

Registration will soon be available for licensing content on DisplayRights.

displayrights.com logo

Executive Interviews is soon to become Display Rights.