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China mulls amending law to strengthen copyright protection

 Source: Xinhua

 

China's lawmakers began reviewing a draft amendment to the Copyright Law to strengthen copyright protection in cyberspace and enhance supervision and punishment on illegal acts.

The draft amendment was submitted for deliberation at the regular session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which opened Sunday.

With the rapid development and application of new technologies, some existing regulations can no longer meet the practical needs, read Yuan Shuhong, vice minister of justice, when briefing on the draft to the legislators.

The Copyright Law was put into effect in 1991 and amended in 2001 and 2010.

The draft amendment makes some changes in descriptions to keep up with the new forms of work and development of technologies, such as changing the "cinematographic works and works creating by a process analogous to cinematography" to the "audiovisual works."

Those changes not only solve the problem of how to classify works of new formats in practice, but also conform to international conventions, said Zhang Hongbo with the China Written Works Copyright Society.

To significantly increase the penalties on violators of the law, the draft raises the ceiling of compensation to 5 million yuan (about 706,000 U.S. dollars) from 500,000 yuan.

"The key of copyright protection is to make sure the penalty is higher than the gains from violations," said Liu Junhai, a law professor with Renmin University of China.

The draft adds that the authorities shall have the power to inquire of the parties concerned, investigate illegal acts, conduct onsite inspections, consult and copy relevant materials and seal up and detain relevant places and goods during investigations.

The draft amendment suggests setting up a registration system to make it easier for the public to know the ownership of works.

It also makes some adjustments in expression including changing "citizens" to "natural persons" and "other organizations" to "unincorporated organizations."

These changes aim to make the copyright law consistent with other civil laws in expression, said Wang Zhengzhi, director of the All China Lawyers Association's intellectual property committee.(Source: Xinhua)