New rule to curb Internet IPR breaches

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-09 07:26

A revised judiciary rule from the Supreme People's Court, which came into effect on Friday, bans reprinting Internet material without obtaining preliminary approval from the copyright holder.

Under the previous judiciary rule implemented in 2003, websites that copied and re-posted Internet material did not infringe upon intellectual property right (IPR) laws so long as they identified the source of the material and paid IPR fees afterwards.

"The revision is in line with international norms in the field. It is also compatible with a new Internet information communication regulation issued by the State Council and implemented this July," said Jiang Zhipei, president of the IPR Court at the Supreme People's Court. He added that the new regulation would likely lead to more IPR legal disputes.

Now, anyone uploading text, sound and video recordings to the Internet for downloading, copying or other use, must acquire the permission of the copyright owner and pay the required fee.

The new regulation also sets a fine of up to 100,000 yuan (US$12,500) and confiscation of computer equipment for those who breach it.

Both China's 1990 Copyright Law and 2001 amended version don't put specific stipulations on Internet media copyright protection.

Many people approve of the new version of the judiciary rule, saying it will effectively protect the interests of copyright owners in the virtual world.

However, some express concern the tightened control might create obstacles for the swift flow of information on the Internet.

"The noted feature for Internet media is the real-time information flow, which has benefited millions of Internet users," said Wei Xiaomao, an Internet IPR observer.

"But to obey the new rules means that people should first get in touch with the copyright holders, and seek their approval before getting the essays reprinted," which may cause long delays.

(China Daily 12/09/2006 page2)

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