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Top 10 Copyright Events of China in 2019

The Top 10 Copyright Events of China in 2019 have been selected and publicized by National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) as follows.

1. Remarkable results achieved in cracking down on cinema movie piracy

The appearance of pirated HD version of the movies screened in cinemas during the 2019 Chinese Spring Festival holiday aroused great public concerns. In this regard, NCAC, together with relevant departments, developed and implemented the Special Work Plan for Strengthening Copyright Protection of Cinema. Pre-warning lists of copyright protection for 33 key films were released in 5 batches. In addition, a joint control mechanism against websites (APPs) involved in infringement and piracy was jointly established by NCAC, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), National Film Administration and major telecom operators, on the basis of which the Alliance for Copyright Protection of Cinema was also set up. In 2019, NCAC and Ministry of Public Security (MPS) investigated and handled over 30 key cases of cinema movie piracy, in which more than 200 criminal suspects were arrested, over 360 websites and 57 APPs shut down, 14,000 related equipment including 7 screen servers used to produce pirated HD movies seized, involving 230 million yuan. Significant outcomes have been secured in cracking down on cinema movie piracy, effectively safeguarding the order of the movie market.

2. National Conference on Copyright Protection and Development in Digital Environment held in Beijing

2019 National Conference on Copyright Protection and Development in Digital Environment, organized by NCAC, took place in Beijing on 26th April, 2019, with the theme of “Compliance and Innovation: Stringent Copyright Protection and Industry Development in Digital Environment for a New Era”. In the conference, “Jianwang 2019” campaign was launched by NCAC, jointly with four other ministries and administrations. Top 10 Cases of Combating Infringement and Piracy in 2018, 2018 Annual Report of Online Copyright Protection in China, 2018 Report of Online Copyright Industry Development in China, and Research Outcomes of the Economic Contribution of Copyright Industry in China in 2017 were released. Both the main and sub forums of the conference saw in-depth discussions on hot copyright issues. The Conference has become a major platform in promoting copyright protection policies, guiding industry development, and raising the awareness of copyright protection in society.

3. Copyright protection and utilization further empowered by new technologies like blockchain

New technologies such as blockchain, 5G, big data and artificial intelligence (AI), which developed rapidly in 2019, have further empowered copyright protection and utilization. At the 18th collective study of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized the need to accelerate the promotion of blockchain technology and innovation-driven development of industry. The General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued Opinions on Strengthening the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights emphasizing on the technology governance. NCAC elevated its copyright protection and administration through network technology, by launching National Copyright Supervision and Administration Platform and establisheding Online Copyright Protection Research Base in MIGU Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China Mobile. Intellectual Property Courts and Internet Courts solved difficulties with the storage and authentication of the evidence related to digital copyrights by technical means such as blockchain and time stamp. Online platforms and businesses have made great progress in copyright verification, protection and exchange by using new technologies. With the rapid development of new technologies and the expansion of inherent demand in copyright protection and utilization, the mode of copyright + new technology features prominently in reinforcing protection and promoting utilization.

4. National Copyright Innovation-driven Development Base established in Qianhai, Shenzhen

On 24th October, the Press Conference on the Achievements of Advancing the Construction of a Pilot Demonstration Area of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics was held in Qianhai, Shenzhen, during which NCAC announced that National Copyright Innovation-driven Development Base was established in Qianhai Shenzhen-Hongkong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone of Shenzhen. The base can fully take its advantages in geography, policy and industry to lead China by fostering high standards in copyright protection and industrial development, acting as a nation-wide demonstration of copyright development with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Establishing the base is a pilot effort of NCAC in taking major innovative measures to implement decisions and deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, enhance the integration of innovation-driven development strategy, give a full play to the inherent innovative characteristics of copyright, and comprehensively increase the level of copyright efforts.

5. The copyright order of picture market further regularized

The copyright issue of “Black Hole Picture” in April evoked wide-spread social concerns. Therefore, relevant departments exerted great efforts to regulate the copyright order of picture market. NCAC announced in a timely and effective manner on the event, prioritized the copyright protection for pictures in “Jianwang 2019” campaign, and investigated and drafted regulating opinions. The head of No. 3 Civil Adjudication Tribunal (IPR Division) of the Supreme People’s Court made a statement on picture copyright, emphasizing the necessity of strict scrutiny on evidence of picture rights ownership and close protection of copyrighted pictures according to law. Relevant local organs of Beijing and Tianjin took actions swiftly to strengthen copyright administration. Effective measures taken by relevant departments have played an important role in regulating picture copyright order, promoting healthy growth of picture industry, and raising public awareness of copyright protection.

6. Great results achieved in the 15th “Jianwang” campaign

“Jianwang 2019” campaign against online copyright infringement and piracy was carried out jointly by NCAC, CAC, MIIT and MPS from May to November. The campaign, the 15th by NCAC and relevant authorities since 2005, has become an effective tool and well-known brand for safeguarding online copyright and a clear cyberspace. “Jianwang 2019” campaign, focused on key areas such as media convergence, cinema movie, stream media, photo and short video, carried out special rectifications, and strengthened platform copyright governance. During the campaign, a total of 1.1 million hyperlinks involved in infringement and piracy were deleted, 10.75 million infringed and pirated productions confiscated, 450 cases of online infringement and piracy handled, among which 160 cases were criminal ones, involving 524 million yuan. The campaign has achieved great outcomes, securing a good environment for online copyright in an effort to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

7. The protection of the right of integrity strengthened by judicial adjudication

On 8th August, Beijing Intellectual Property Court made the second-instance judgment on the dispute over infringement on the right of integrity between Zhang Muye and China Film Group Corporation (CFGC), Dream Author Pictures Ltd., Le Vision Pictures (Beijing) Co., Ltd. etc. The court decided that the core elements such as major setting of characters and background of stories of the novel involved are largely altered by the movie involved, fundamentally changing the views and emotions expressed by the author in the original work. Therefore, the above acts constituted distortion and mutilation to Zhang Muye’s original novel and infringement on the author’s right to protect his work’s integrity. The case involves an infringement dispute arising from the screen adaption of a well-known novel, triggering great public concerns. This judgment defined that reputation loss was not a constitutive element of infringement on the right of integrity and that adaptation right of infringed works could not waiver the protection of author’s personal rights through the right of integrity. It was a warning for arbitrary adaptation which are prevailing in the film and television industry, and played an important role in promoting respect and protection of originality for the whole society.

8. National copyright expo licensing system gradually taking shape

The IP Global Licensing Conference, organized by the Alliance of National Copyright Trade Centers, took place in Beijing from 20 to 22, October, 2019. It was a critical step for NCAC to actively push forward the application and value transformation of copyright and exert major efforts to gradually build the national copyright expo licensing system. The system, led by the China International Copyright Expo launched by NCAC, and supported by local copyright expos, trade fairs and licensing expos in Qingdao, Shandong, Nanjing, Jiangsu, Dongguan, Guangdong, Chengdu, Sichuan and Shanghai Free-Trade Zone (FTZ), integrates resources, highlights special characteristics, encourages complementarity and seeks common development. Building such a system plays an important role in implementing the new development concept, promoting copyright industrial development, and constructing a nation into a copyright power.

9. China Culture and Entertainment Industry Association proactively regulating the industry copyright order

In 2019, under the guidance of NCAC and Ministry of Culture and Tourism, China Culture and Entertainment Industry Association (CCEA) actively played its linking role by enhancing publicity, taking effective measures, promoting the compliance of the music and performance entertainment sector with copyright laws and regulations, and continuously elevating enterprises’ performances and awareness of operating according to law throughout the sector. In addition, CCEA encouraged its member to actively cooperate with relevant copyright collective management organizations in further improving the copyright licensing mechanism in Karaoke business. In this context, CCEA played a positive role in regulating the copyright order of music and performance entertainment sector, perfecting copyright collective management that is  both in line with international practices and with Chinese characteristics.

10. Copyright service center of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone put into operation

On 24th September, the copyright service center of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (SHFTZ), the first professional copyright service platform set up in China’s FTZs, was launched and put into operation. The main business ranges from speedy registration, monitoring and pre-warning, to protection. The center brings the public service functions of the Pilot FTZ government into full play, by exploring ways of improving through innovations the comprehensive supervision and administration mechanisms and copyright service mechanisms, encouraging copyright creation, strengthening copyright protection and utilization, and promoting culture industry development in the FTZ. It is of great demonstrative significance to set up such a center in SHFTZ, guiding other FTZs of China to achieve a quality growth through copyright protection and utilization.