Highlights of the new China Copyright law in relation to copyright protection

On 11 November 2020, China’s National People’s Congress passed the amendments to the China Copyright Law, which will take effect on 1 June 2021. There are many changes in terms of copyright protection, which is favourable to the right owners.

The highlights of the new China Copyright Law in relation to copyright protection include:

  • Introduce punitive damages for copyright infringement in bad faith. One to five times of determined amount of direct damages will be awarded if the infringement was committed in bad faith.
  • Raise the maximum statutory damages for copyright infringement from CNY 500,000 (around USD 77,301) to CNY 5 million (around USD 773, 004) and set the minimum statutory damages, namely CNY 500 (USD 77).
  • Reduce the burden proof for the copyright owners. In terms of ownership, when the right owner has submitted the initial evidence (such as Certificate of Copyright), in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the owner does not need to provide further evidence. In terms of damages calculation, when the right owners have done their best to provide the evidence, the burden of proof will be shifted to the infringer and the infringer will be required to provide evidence such as accounting documents.
  • Expand the scope of copyright authorities and Increase enforcement measures. The local copyright authorities have been adjusted from “state council” copyright administrative department to “county-level or above” copyright administrative department. The copyright authorities can take enforcement measures including inquiring of the parties concerned, investigating illegal acts, conducting on-site inspections, consulting and copying relevant materials and sealing up and detaining relevant places and goods during investigations.
  • Define the technical measures for protecting copyright and specify the legal liability of destroying or avoiding technical measures and the exemptions. In order to protect copyrights, owners may take technical measures, i.e. effective technologies, devices or components used for preventing or restricting others from browsing or enjoying works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings or providing the public through information network works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings without permission of the right owners.

Those amendments will strengthen copyright protection and show the Chinese government’s determination and efforts to provide a desirable legal environment for protecting innovation and creation.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

By Solanda Chen, February 2021