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IP protection gaining a stronger foothold in digital media

Luo Wangshu
Updated: Apr 27,2017 6:56 AM     China Daily

More people increasingly willing to pay for quality content on the internet, including novels and music-a change in behavior that could promote copyright protection and tackle online piracy, according to a new report.

The 2016 Annual Report of Copyright Protection on the Internet in China was released at the National Conference on Copyright Protection in the Digital Environment in Beijing on April 26, the 17th World Intellectual Property Day.

Copyright holders, internet companies, government departments, international organizations, industry researchers and observers gathered to share opinions and experiences on copyright protection in the digital environment.

With improvements in the IP environment and the convenience of online payment, “users are more willing to pay for digital content-and did so last year”, said Liu Duo, director of the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology, a research institute of information and communication technology, which released the report.

“Users paid for more types of digital content, including online games, soap operas, music and literature,” she said.

Last year, drama from the Republic of Korea Descendants of the Sun attracted 5 million paid users on iQiyi, a major online broadcasting platform, the report said. Nearly 200 million yuan ($29 million) was paid to the company.

In 2016, users spent 212.3 billion yuan on digital content online, a year-on-year increase of 28 percent, according to a separate report released in October by Blue Lotus Research Institute.

With the rapid development of digital technology, it is easier to access content online, including novels, music and TV dramas.

The lower threshold also caused trouble: “One of my works published by a newspaper in 1998 has been widely spread and shared on WeChat, which I did not give permission to,” said Zhang Kangkang, a well-known writer, referring to the social media app. “The title of my work has also been tampered with to attract attention.

“Both behaviors violate my rights. But I do not know what to do or who to talk to protect the copyright of my work in this digital world. Do I just write a notice and put it on my WeChat account too?”

Although concerns still exist, China has been working to tackle online piracy for more than a decade. For example, the National Copyright Administration of China initiated an annual crackdown campaign dubbed Sharp Sword to go after pirated music, videos, games, animation and software online. The campaign aims to create a good online copyright system and has been carried out for 12 consecutive years.

Copyright protection is also one of the country’s top development strategies, said Zhou Huilin, the administration’s deputy director.

“China’s copyright development has wooed the world and made real progress,” said Chen Hongbing, head of the World Intellectual Property Organization’ China office.

He added that copyright protection improvements have been seen in many fields in China, including amended laws and regulations and more strict legal practices.

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