The year 2014 was marked by major advances in online copyright protection, a senior official from the National Copyright Administration said at the 2015 China Copyright Annual Conference on March 2 in Beijing.
Organized by the Copyright Protection Center of China, the event has provided a venue for information exchanges for the creative industry since its debut in 2009.
The US Chamber of Commerce shot a film last year, called A Watershed Transforming China, to show the significant changes that occurred in this field, said Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the administration.
“In 2005 we didn’t even know how to take specific enforcement action regarding the Internet, while in 2014 we organized four governmental departments to launch joint enforcement,” Yan said.
During last year’s Jianwang Operation, a campaign to fight online piracy and infringement, more than 500 cases were investigated and 151 websites were closed.
A long-term mechanism for the promotion of genuine software was another highlight of last year’s efforts.
The total output value of China’s software industry reached 4 trillion yuan ($639 billion) in 2014, and the number of software registrations surpassed the 200,000 benchmark for the first time.
However, around eight years ago, the value was only 75 billion yuan and some software companies “struggled to survive due to the chaotic IP environment”, Yan said.
Efforts to promote the use of licensed software have helped many Chinese companies regain vitality and confidence, he added.
Along with the coming of the mobile Internet era, new media and technologies have also brought new challenges for copyright protection.
“More new methods should be explored to solve the problem of better granting copyright authorization in the digital era,” Yan said.
He said the CPCC has made many effective attempts these years, such as the DCI, or digital copyright identifier.
A forum about the latest developments of the DCI system was held on March 3 as part of the annual conference.
Introduced in late 2010, the DCI system is “a major innovation to integrate publication management and copyright services in the digital era, and will help break the development bottleneck of China’s digital copyright industry,” Xu Zhengming, senior official at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said at the forum.
The system can ensure every digital media product is branded with an unalterable code, which can be used to verify the authenticity of digital media and the legality of its use, said Zhang Jiandong, a senior official at the CPCC.
It could realize innovation on two important mechanisms－benefits distribution and rapid IP rights safeguards－and be considered “the second revolution of the Internet copyright protection,” Zhang said.
He said the DCI system could simplify copyright registration by allowing it to be completed online. The codes could enable the automatic online verification of copyright use and usage legality, of which the results can serve as legal evidence if disputes occur.
It could also guarantee that copyright holders and other related rights owners get paid by building a third-party copyright fee payment certification service that is transparent, fair and authoritative.
“We have set up a collaborative lab with the North China University of Technology to gather DCI technicians and innovations,” Zhang said.
“We also applied the system to some pilot companies with their cooperation,” he added.
The Chinese group on portal nuomi.com, for example, realized real-time copyright registration and protection of its photos via the system. With nearly 500 professional photographers, the company produces about 10 million photos a year.
Zhang said the DCI system still needs technical improvement and to form its own standards.
Zhan Banghua, general manager of the Beijing Certificate Authority, proposed using the coding technology for smartphone apps in the future to better protect information security.
Xu Zhengming suggested introducing advanced international experiences and taking mature standards such as ISBN into consideration when formulating the DCI standards.
At the conference, the National Copyright Administration also announced the top 10 copyright owners of 2014, including Wang Taili, a member of a famous singing group the Chopstick Brothers and writer of their signature song Little Apple.
The song has become a nationwide phenomenon and even popular with many foreigners, as it is easy to follow and the pace is repetitive.