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Report: Tougher copyright protection needed

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-29 08:53

China's top legislature called upon governments at all levels on Monday to strengthen copyright protection by creating an information-sharing system for administrations and judicial authorities, along with a blacklist of violators.

Over the past several years, the country has made efforts against copyright infringement, but more efforts are needed, according to a report on the enforcement of the Copyright Law by a specialized team under the legislature.

The report is being discussed at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which ends on Friday.

"Some copyright administrations took fewer steps against online piracy because of the difficulty of figuring out infringements in cyberspace, including how to collect related evidence," said Wang Chen, the committee's vice-chairman.

"Some administrations didn't hand over cases of alleged criminal wrongdoing to judicial authorities, while others had no employees or funding to deal with piracy."

The team suggested that government bodies should create a system for sharing information about copyright infringement between each other and judicial authorities, with the aim of moving more effectively from administrative punishments to criminal penalties.

It advocated a credit evaluation system, with a blacklist, to help manage copyrights and increase pressure on online pirates.

Chinese courts should improve their efficiency in hearing copyright infringement cases, including the use of expert witnesses and technical investigators to help judges analyze new types of violations, the report said.

The National Copyright Administration has been active in enforcement since the end of last year. It issued a notice strengthening the protection of online literary works, and said it would name websites that do a good job protecting literary works along with problematic ones. "The creation of a credit evaluation system should be accelerated, because weeding out those with low credit will be good for keeping the market in order and prosperous," said Gao Youdong, a political adviser.

From 2005 to 2016, copyright administrations at all levels nationwide confiscated more than 508 million pieces of pirated products. They handed down administrative punishments, such as fines, on infringers in 93,500 cases, according to the report.

In the same period, the administrations, with other authorities, including the Ministry of Public Security, tackled 5,560 online piracy cases and shut down 3,082 websites, it said.

Judicial authorities have also been vigorous in the anti-piracy fight. For example, Chinese courts concluded 368,611 civil cases and 6,746 criminal ones relating to copyright infringement in the past six years, the report said.

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