At the 2011 Beijing Music Copyright Protection and Industry Development
Forum and Copyright Owners’ signing ceremony on 28th April, a guiding
framework in accordance with the Copyright Law of the People’s Republic
of China and Regulation on the Protection of the Right to Network
Dissemination of Information for the purpose of regulating and
maintaining the normal order of network communication works (including
audio/ video products) was formulated.
At the forum, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press and Publication (Copyright Bureau) brought
together Copyright Owners including representatives of record labels,
publishers, composers, music distributors and industry associations
amongst them Taihe Rye, Dong Music, Music Copyright Society of China
and R2G who voiced their opinions and support for the guiding
It was noted that the law needs to
objectively state what defines Copyright Ownership, as currently there
is a heavy burden of proof upon Copyright Owners and the balance is
tilted in favor of Service Providers. Copyright Owners have an
inordinate amount of work to not only prove their ownership but also to
issue take-down notices whilst Service Providers seek sophisticated
ways to perpetuate music piracy, most commonly abusing Safe Harbour
Laws and using their technology platforms as a cover to facilitate
users’ uploading of copyrighted content.
Copyright Bureaus has recognized that the law can be seen as a
polarizer as in practice - it is an arduous task to prove Service
Providers’ subjective intent even as their actions contribute to
copyright infringement. As such a new framework of guidelines to
complement the existing laws have been proposed by them.
The most significant of the guidelines are the following:
Beijing Copyright Bureau will set up a publicly accessible website for
Copyright Owners to register their works and Service Providers who
provide file-sharing services, search, links or act as channels are
then automatically required to take down links to these known
copyrighted works or prevent users from uploading these works to their
- Service Providers are thus effectively required to automatically take down copyrighted works that they know of or should have known that users do not have the right to upload or disseminate
- Service Providers are required to remove infringing content immediately or latest within 24 hours upon notice by the Copyright Owner
support of this proposed regulatory framework, an initial batch of 10
record labels, producers and distributors signed this new copyright
Zhang Yadong, CEO of Dong Music and one of
China’s top music producers lamented that music composers are neither
copyright nor legal experts and if they have to turn themselves into
professional anti-piracy experts, this will be at the cost of composing
music. Yadong also appealed to Service Providers to respect the efforts
of music composers as they continue to engage in high-tech piracy. As
it is impossible for artists and composers to undertake what is often a
long process to establish their legal rights, Yadong welcomed the
relevant authorities like the Beijing Copyright Bureau establishing an
integrated copyright protection system, thus freeing music composers to
contribute more to culture in our society.
President of the Taihe Rye label observed that digital music is a
challenge but also presents unprecedented opportunities as the mode of
transmission has changed. After the initial pain of music piracy, the
music industry should now calm down and reflect on how to take concrete
and effective measures as currently it is mainly individual labels
fighting alone but with limited overall industry collaboration.
Ke highlighted that even though digital music provides hope for the
music industry, without sufficient parameters for copyright protection,
the music industry will not recover towards prosperity. Song Ke
reiterated his support for the Beijing Copyright Bureau’s new initiative
Jun, CEO of R2G echoed the others that the new framework will
complement current Copyright Laws and it will serve to close subjective
grey areas that were exploited by Service Providers particularly with
regards to the Safe Harbour Law. He noted that the healthy development
of the music industry requires copyright protection but the current
difficulties faced by copyright holders include
1) Complexity of establishing and proving rights ownership
2) High cost of providing burden of proof whilst in comparison, infringement carries little cost
3) Difficulty in informing infringing companies (to take-down content)
agreed that the music industry and the Copyright Bureau should join
hands to launch an authoritative platform that clearly displays
copyright information available publicly to all Service Providers so
that there will not be any infringement or piracy loophole for them to
exploit or claim ignorance.
The Music Copyright Society
of China’s Director-General Qu Jingming also presented at the forum and
stressed that the revitalization of the music industry should involve
the full cooperation of the music industry institutions, industry
associations and joints efforts with government departments instead of
going it alone as it was in the past.
the forum organizer, Beijing Copyright Bureau represented by Deputy
Director Wang Ye Fei in his keynote address with the theme of "actively
exploring new ideas of music copyright protection and new initiatives,"
sought to seek the views of the music industry as part of this year’s
latest copyright protection policy to address the copyright problems.
hope that the music industry would unify and undertake positive action
to establish a centralized commission and unified collective rights
platform so that both businesses and the government can join forces to
actively promote the healthy development of the music industry.
first batch of music Copyright Owners then signed on to the Beijing
Copyright Bureau’s Beijing Resources Information Center platform
providing their copyright information to kick-start this new initiative.
The full list of the Guiding Framework on the Protection of Copyright are available here.