The Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China was passed in September 1990 and came into force in June 1991. In 2001 and 2010, it was amended. In the past 26 years, China has made six major achievements in implementing the Law, namely: a complete legal system of copyright guarantees that there are always laws for people to follow; the protection system in place featuring coordination between administrative enforcement and criminal justice significantly improves the protection of copyright; the initial legal system of copyright service gives full play to social governance; the copyright industry is growing fast, featuring a flourishing trade; international cooperation and exchanges are further strengthened, increasing China’s influence and giving it a greater discourse power; activities to promote knowledge of laws are carried out in the whole society, thus significantly improving public awareness of copyright.
Initially established legal system of copyright
Since the promulgation of Copyright Law in September 1990 and its implementation in the following year, the National People’s Congress has incorporated the crime of infringing copyright into the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. The State Council and the relevant departments have promulgated and implemented six administrative laws and regulations and ten department regulations including Regulations for the Implementation of the Copyright Law and Regulation on the Collective Administration of Copyright, while the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued 13 judicial interpretation and guidance documents. In addition, Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Shandong, Hubei, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi and other provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities), in line with local conditions, have introduced eight local copyright laws and regulations and government regulations. With the Copyright Law as the guidance and core, a legal system of socialism with Chinese characteristics composed of multi-level legal regulations is basically established.
Coordination between administrative enforcement and criminal justice marks the characteristic and advantage of copyright protection in China. From 2010 to 2016, the people’s courts accepted a total of 521,807 civil cases of first instance on intellectual property rights, 393,577 of which are about copyright, accounting for 75.42%. From 2005 to 2016, administrative law-enforcement departments of at all levels handled 76,300 cases of administrative penalties, 3,362 cases of which were handed over to judicial organs, confiscated more than 470 million infringing and pirated products, 322 cases of which were handed over to judicial organs for criminal prosecution. Since 2005, in particular, the National Copyright Administration and other relevant departments jointly launched Jianwang Campaign for 12 consecutive years, which effectively purifies the network environment for copyright protection.
A booming copyright industry
Since 1994 when China began to file copyright registration, the number of copyright registration has been rising year by year, and in 2006, the number exceeded 2 million. In 1992, China set up the first organization for collective management of copyright - Music Copyright Society of China. Since then, five such organizations have been established, which contributes to utilization and spread of music, audio and video, photography, text, film and other works. In addition, eight foreign-related copyright certification agencies approved to operate in China for foreign copyright certification and liaison are playing a positive role in helping China fulfill its international obligations and promoting its export of copyright.
Over the past 26 years, the flourishing copyright industry, represented by literature and art, news and publication, radio and television, computer software and information network, has become a new growth point and pillar industry of the national economy. China’s copyright industry in 2015 accounted for 7.3% of the total GDP, while in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other economically developed areas, the proportion was as high as 9% to 12%, approaching or exceeding some European and American countries. Besides, China has been vigorously engaged in formulation and adjustment of international rules of copyright, and has signed, joined and approved eight international treaties on copyright. In June 2012, the Chinese government assisted the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in convening the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances in Beijing. During the Conference, Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances was successfully concluded, which marks the first international treaty on copyright adopted by WIPO in the past two decades, as well as the first multilateral treaty named after a Chinese city since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
At present, with an obvious improvement of public awareness of copyright, the society is showing more respect to knowledge, work and innovation. In the annual survey of social satisfaction of intellectual property right protection, copyright rights holders got more satisfied in the last five years, giving a point of 74.8 in 2016.
Source: China Press Publication Radio Film and Television Journal