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
"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)