China / Society

Online violations of news copyrights targeted

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-13 07:24

A nationwide crackdown on news-story copyright infringement on the Internet was launched on Thursday.

The National Copyright Administration announced on Thursday the start of the 10th Jianwang Operation, an annual campaign against online piracy initiated in 2005. Websites and media platforms that post unauthorized news links and reproductions are the major targets this year.

"Without sound supervision and tough punishment, some new media develop their business by illegally publishing content produced by traditional media. It's time to tackle this kind of copyright violation, which we used to neglect," said Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the copyright administration.

Beginning in June, the six-month campaign will scrutinize popular online news portals and major social media platforms for unauthorized republishing of news products, and punish violators with the backing of law-enforcement departments.

The operation will also urge print and digital media to establish content-sharing agreements while offering legal consultations for copyright holders against online piracy.

Jiang Jianguo, head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, stressed that the crackdown has dared to target some of the country's "most famous and influential" Web portals for potential violations.

"Some high-viewership articles or videos on some online media giants are sometimes borrowed from original producers without pay or authorization, and produced great advertising benefits for those websites. These violations should be strictly punished," Jiang said.

Disputes between traditional and new media over news copyrights have grown more intense in recent years, with a series of established organizations complaining about the unbridled growth of news copyright infringement by online sites or apps.

The latest controversy occurred earlier this month when several leading Internet portals questioned the legality of's posting news articles and photos from other media and asked the online news-reading app to stop its unauthorized news links and reproductions.

People's Daily reported that Internet giants, including and and newspaper Beijing Daily, all denied any working relationship with Toutiao, although Toutiao CEO Zhang Yiming insisted that he had signed authorization agreements with the organizations to repost their news links.

News forwarders such as Toutiao argued that their website and apps guide readers to the original copyright holders' website for further reading, and so the content should be considered a link collection rather than content plagiarism.

Law experts said the difference between copyright infringement and a legal link collection is slight and requires extra attention from administrators during the campaign.

"If news articles are reposted at length on link searching pages without permission (as is done on, it will be recognized as infringement," said Yu Guofu, a Beijing lawyer specializing in online intellectual rights infringement.


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