Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances

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International Forum on Copyright and Creative Industries in the Digital Economy: New Challenges and Opportunities


The Belt and Road International Forum on Copyright hosted by National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was held in Chengdu from December 2 to December 4. Nearly 200 Chinese and foreign guests were present at the forum, including officials from copyright authorities of countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia and Kazakhstan, representatives of copyright associations and collective management organizations of countries like Finland and Australia, relevant heads of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and other international organizations, representatives of the copyright administrations of some provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China, and representatives of Chinese copyright associations, collective management organizations, industries and academic circles. Focusing on the new challenges and opportunities of copyright and creative industries in the digital economy, the participants exchanged experiences and engaged in collision of ideas on the reform of the copyright system, the use and management of copyrights and the promotion of industrial development in the digital environment.

Chinese experience has attracted much attention

Sylvie Forbin, Deputy Director General, Copyright and Creative Industries Sector, WIPO, said at the forum that the forum provides a platform for participating governments, businesses and related associations to exchange ideas and explore how to build a balanced and innovative international copyright system.

She said that the Chinese Government has taken a variety of innovative measures to deal with the changes and challenges brought about by digital technology. In addition to establishing a sound framework of its national copyright system, China has also achieved remarkable results in the field of law enforcement and supported the establishment of the China Digital Copyright Industrial Alliance and other civil organizations. These measures have provided more “Chinese experience” and “Chinese wisdom” to the copyright protection of countries along the Belt and Road. She also revealed that so far, 29 countries have ratified or acceded to the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. As stipulated, the Treaty will enter into force when it is ratified or acceded to by another country. She hopes that this landmark international copyright treaty will take effect as soon as possible so as to provide comprehensive protection for the rights of audiovisual performers in the digital environment.

“Advancing copyright cooperation along the Belt and Road, promoting the development of creative industries, creating a business environment that respects the value of knowledge and achieving common prosperity are the essential contents of and important measures in deepening international exchanges and cooperation and building a community of shared future for mankind,” said Yu Cike, Director General, Copyright Department, NCAC, at the opening ceremony of the forum. According to Yu, at present, the world is facing multiple challenges brought by digitalization. Modern technologies represented by the Internet, big data and AI are changing with each passing day, and a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is being vigorously advanced. This has not only produced significant and far-reaching impacts on economic development and cultural communication, but also put forward new demands for copyright protection and development. Protecting copyright is the common aspiration and an important task of all countries including China. We will, as always, fulfill our international obligations and our own commitments. We are also willing to join hands with other countries in the world to exchange and learn from each other, enhance cooperation, seek common development, and strive for mutual benefit and win-win results. Let’s work together to promote the establishment of a new international copyright protection and governance structure, and facilitate the development of copyright undertakings and cultural and economic prosperity in countries along the Belt and Road.

“The Belt and Road International Forum on Copyright held in Sichuan is bound to have an important impact on and boost the prosperity and development of the copyright industry in Sichuan Province,” sighed Zhou Qing, Director General of the Copyright Administration of Sichuan Province. According to Zhou, copyright trading in Sichuan Province exceeded 100 million yuan in 2018, with 170,000 works registered. Currently, Sichuan Province is accelerating the construction of Tianfu New Area and the Pilot Free Trade Zone, fully integrating into the Belt and Road and the Yangtze River Economic Belt, striving to build and expand a new pattern of three-dimensional opening-up, and endeavoring to create a new highland for innovation and entrepreneurship in western China. Shi Jiang, Director of Chengdu Municipal Copyright Administration said that, as a model city for copyright, Chengdu has made full use of cloud computing, big data, blockchain and other technologies in recent years to promote the deep integration between copyright and the internet, AI and the real economy, and advance the high level development of the copyright industry.

The internet has become the main battlefield for copyright protection

With the rapid development of new technologies such as 5G and blockchain, the creation, dissemination and use of internet works have continued to be enriched. On the one hand, new formats and platforms have kept emerging, and copyright has become an important engine for the rapid growth of the digital economy. On the other hand, internet copyright protection is also facing greater challenges, and internet infringements have been characterized by fragmentation, multiple stages, decentralization, and large scale. The Internet has become the main battlefield for copyright protection.

At the forum, Zhao Xiuling, Deputy Director General, Copyright Department, NCAC, gave a comprehensive introduction of a series of measures which China has taken in response to new technological challenges in intensifying copyright protection efforts, and achievements of strengthening internet copyright governance and cracking down on internet infringement and piracy. She also shared China’s experience in further improving copyright legislation, strengthening copyright administration, and promoting the development of the copyright industry in the internet environment.

“Infringement and piracy activities have obviously gone more and more international and social in the 4G era. Internet of Everything in the 5G era will bring greater opportunities and challenges to Internet copyright. With the emergence of a large number of intelligent hardware such as AR and VR, the dissemination of copyright contents will not be limited to traditional PC, APP and OTT ends. Therefore, coping with cross-border and cross-device infringement challenges and increasing international copyright monitoring and protection will make it inevitable for countries along the Belt and Road to build big data platforms for Internet copyrights, jointly build the global copyright monitoring network, and work together to create a healthier global copyright ecological environment,” said Wu Guanyong, founder and CEO of Shanghai Firstbrave Information Technology Co., Ltd.

Jiang Bo, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Tencent Group also noted that the current emergence and development of blockchain, AI, big data analysis, cloud computing and other technologies have provided new engines for intellectual property undertakings and new ideas and models for intellectual property protection. With the deep integration between these innovative technologies and the protection of intellectual property rights, the use of technology to combat infringement is also getting constantly matured in practice.

As a representative of collective management organizations, Scot Morris, Director of International, Australasian Performing Right Association, Sydney, said that digital technology is of great significance to creators, rights holders and all parts of the creative industry chain. The entire income structure of the copyright industry has undergone fundamental changes. The incomes from traditional industries such as radio and television, newspapers, and books are declining, while the revenues generated by the superposition of mobile media such as digital multimedia and streaming media are on the rise. The focus of copyright collective management organizations on industrial services has also shifted from traditional media to search engines, digital services and social services, etc. Such changes require collective copyright management organizations to provide more effective services for rights holders, communicators and users.

During the forum, the guests from at home and abroad also participated in relevant activities of the 2019 Chengdu International Digital Copyright Expo, visited Migu Music Co., Ltd. and Chengdu Audio & Visual Publishing Ltd., and had discussions on the development models of music and audiovisual industries. Through this forum, relevant countries along the Belt and Road have conducted in-depth exchanges on the hot copyright issues, and representatives from various countries have gained a more comprehensive understanding of China’s efforts and achievements in the field of copyright in recent years.