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Fairness the foundation of contract spirit

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-08 08:33
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Douyu's logo. [Photo/VCG]

In July 2020, livestreaming platform Douyu reportedly sued a number of livestreamers for not honoring the contract they had signed with the company, which stipulated that they livestream for a certain number of hours every month. Some of the livestreamers were sued for as high as 80 million yuan ($11.2 million).

Reports said that Douyu soon reconciled with the defendants. Yet three years later, reports have emerged that Douyu is still seeking huge compensation from the livestreamers.

Platforms such as Douyu can hire professional lawyers who can draft contracts that minimize risks to themselves and put huge responsibilities on the other side, which means the livestreamers, who are mostly college students. However, such contracts are not necessarily legal and fair.

Some livestreamers showed their contracts to the media, where it said that they were required to work 24 days a month. Some of them had to work 10 hours a day.

In November, a third-year college student died after having livestreamed overnight for five successive nights, but his employer said the death is irrelevant to his job.

It is not always about the exact wording of the contract anymore; legal staff can carefully check whether the contract contains unfair clauses. One can safely assume that the companies seeking extravagant compensation are unlikely to get it. The youth need to know this, too, so that they are confident and avoid falling into such traps that exploit them in the future.

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