Among the Ten IPR Cases issued by the Supreme People’s Court in 2012, one of the more interesting ones involves a case of portrait infringement involving international basketball star Yao Ming’s likeness. Despite the court’s understanding that infringement had been found for the unlicensed use of Yao’s portrait and name, granting compensation as high as RMB 1 million Yuan, such an amount is far less than Yao’s typical payment for participating in ads and other marketing materials. For this reason, the court’s decision to grant such an amount is simply inadequate to prevent further acts of infringement involving a well-known person’s name and likeness.
(By Albert Chen) In 2010, Getty Images China (“Getty China”) filed a copyright infringement suit against Sinotrans Chongqing Co. (“Sinotrans Chongqing”). After the first instance, second instance, and review, the Supreme Court confirmed the copyright held by Getty China over the pictures involved in the case. The point that deserves the most attention in the case is the different understandings on whether the creation date of the copyright is an essential requirement for showing infringement.
(By You Yunting) Recently, the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce (“Administration”) published on its official Weibo that the Beijing Administration and Xicheng Administration of Industry and Commerce made an appointment with the chief of Beijing’s Qihoo Co. (“Qihoo”), and issued an administrative warning against company conduct, claiming violations of unfair competition laws and regulations related to its “360 Safeguard” for use in computer internet browsers.
According to news reports, Microsoft along with Autodesk, filed a lawsuit in the Foshan Intermediate Court (note: the link is in Chinese) against a renowned company admitted in Foshan City, claiming computer software copyright infringement. The plaintiffs stated that the accused company had been using their software without any licenses or approvals. Based on this, the plaintiffs demanded compensation of RMB 8 million yuan, elimination of influence, cessation of infringement, and an apology. This case is not black and white and the court certainly has its own opinions, but today I would like to take this chance to discuss how to determine the legitimacy of evidence collection in cases of computer software infringement.
By You Yunting
In recent, CNTV, the subsidiary of China national television station (the “CCTV”), which in charge of its online business, quarreled with SMG’s BesTV (SHEX:600637) on the Olympics broadcasting. By the statement of CNTV, it owns the exclusive online broadcasting right of 2012 London Olympics in China, yet BesTV, with no license form CNTV, provided 1) the streaming of Olympic games, 2) program time-shifted playback through server storage and 3) VOD to local cooperated IPTVs, and that damages CNTV’s legal rights. So far we have heard no reply from BesTV on the accusation.
With the Tort Liability Law coming into effect on 1st January of 2010, China internet companies are facing increasing pressures on the privacy violation. We would like to introduce the internet companies, especially the online game companies, the countermeasures to the risk of user information collection.
I. What legal risk from the user information collection?
Could there be any risk of collecting the hardware information, signing in IP information and software information of the users? That’s the question from a client of us. By our experience, in China, to collect the information that the owner would not like to open could possibly constitute the privacy violation. And in the internet industry, the law also prohibits the unauthorized visiting to the unlicensed computer system, the modification over other’s information or sending the information in others name arbitrarily which may constitute the privacy violation.
The most notably and widely discussed issue around this Chinese New Year, to Bridge IP Law Commentary’s opinion, is probably not the traditional spring festival variety show on CCTV, but the argument between Fang Zhouzi, a self-claimed anti-fraud cop or myth buster, and Han Han, an acclaimed writer in China. The flame battle started from a blog by Mai Tian, a better-known blogger, doubting many works of Han Han are actually written by his father or other unnamed writer while published in his name. Despite it ends in Mai Tian’s apology and admission of mistake, the issue opens the Pandora’s box of doubts on Han Han. Afterwards, Fang Zhouzi took the relay baton, who was counter-backed by Han Han and his father, and moreover Han Han showed his original manuscript for proving. After days of online words war, Han Han filed the lawsuit for the reputation infringement and claimed the compensation of 100, 000 yuan.
Some net friends ask lawyers of Bridge IP Law Commentary on the http://www.zhihu.com/ (the Quora in China) that whether the original contents in the microblog could be protected by Copyright Law, and if can, how they are protected. Our replies are as follows:
1. The tweets could be the works as specified in the Copyright Law when they are original, despite they could only contain 140 characters. However, when the tweets only have a single word “Ah!” or the normal phrase like “It’s a fine day today”, then such microblogs could not be the legal works and could not be protected by Copyright Law.