The first national-level copyright auction for movie and TV content next month is expected to increase the weight of screenwriters in the industry, said organizers of the event.
Co-organized by the Writers Publishing House, the International Copyright Exchange and the government of Yongkang city in Zhejiang province, the auction has attracted 860 written works ranging from history and science fiction to war, love and ethics.
Under the gavel at the auction will be rights to 682 screenplays, 146 novels - including two from Singapore and five from Taiwan - and 32 movie and TV projects, including 28 from overseas. Ten works were promoted at a press conference on Nov 15, including three movie scripts from Hollywood
Organizers said they hoped to finance international projects by sharing copyrights. The successful bidders will have the right to modify the screenplays so domestic writers and actors will participate in production with their Hollywood peers.
Another recommended work is a novel by the late writer Jia Dashan. Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote an article in 1998 to commemorate him, saying that his works were "filled with insight into the society and affection of the people".
A collection of Jia's novels was published by the Writers Publishing House at the beginning of the year and sold well, said Ge Xiaozheng, president of the firm.
Industry insiders say many movies and TV dramas adapted from literature have been popular in recent years, and the new auction model will help increase transparency in copyright prices.
"Literature works are increasingly welcomed by movie and TV drama producers, but most of the adapted products are based on popular online novels, while many works with real high literary value have not attracted enough attention in the market," Ge said.
He said that the Writers Publishing House has always been "a supporter of literature movies, or art films".
"We are determined to do art films despite their poor performance at the box office," he said. "The consciousness of artists should not be influenced by the box office, and China's movie market should not be occupied by commercial blockbusters or just imported films.
"Chinese literature is a huge gold mine. It must provide strong support for the nation's movie industry."
Along with physical offices, the Copyright Cloud, China's first online public copyright service system, will be used for the auction process and to receive auction items.
Yin Zhisong, chairman of the Beijing-based International Copyright Exchange, the system's developer, said that the O2O - or "online to offline" - auction model is an attempt to improve efficiency in copyright distribution.
Only registered members can view content depending on what stage they are in so their submitted works are not revealed to others.
Organizers also have invited law firms to protect copyrights.
Yin said the auction will be held every year.
Yingkang city is home to more than 170 independent studios and cultural companies. It is about 50 km from Hengdian World Studios, the largest filming location in Asia covering 330 hectares. More than 1,000 movies and TV dramas have been made at the studio.
A trading platform for movie and TV literature copyrights was also announced at the press conference that will integrate the resources of Yongkang-based companies with writers, publishers and movie projects.