How to Appropriately Deal with a Lawyer Letter- about Copyright

(By Xiong Leizhi) Some popular We Chat accounts recently received a lawyer letter about copyright infringement from a well-known picture library. Before that some We Media were sued for picture infringement. Content creators are in trouble since 2015 when capital flooded in and proceeds surged. In the circumstances where start-ups abound and the gross national attention remains constant, each start-up tries to attract customers quickly and keep their interest for a long time. However, it takes much time to create an original piece of content. As a result, increasingly more unauthorized copies of works appear. The above cases that recently happened arose out of infringement.

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Does the Merchandizing Rights Fall into the Protection for Priority Right in China Trademark Cases?

(By Ning Tinggang) Beijing Intellectual Property Court recently introduced some movie, TV series, music, animation and game related cases it heard in 2015 and 2016 via its public WeChat platform, including the trademark “Kuroko Basketball” invalidity case which inspired me. The way that the court dealt with this case shows a new trend of protecting merchandizing interests which we legal professionals should pay attention to.

Case Introduction

Kuroko Basketball is a popular comic work about basketball created by ふじまき ただとし, a Japanese comics artist. The work was serialized on the magazine SHONEN JUMP published by Shueisha since the second issue in 2009, and then was adapted for an animation and first broadcast on 7th April 2012. The plaintiff, SL Sport Ltd. in Kaiping (“SL Company”), filed a trademark-register application to the trademark office on 19th July 2012. As approved, this trademark (“Disputed Trademark”) should be used under Class 25. In addition, SL Company registered tens of trademarks closely connected with popular comics works such as Kuroko Basketball and SLAM DUNK that Shueisha had published, including trademarks used under Class 18, 24, 25, 35 and other types of commodities or services. Thus, Shueisha filed a request for declaration of invalidity of the Disputed Trademark.

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Why It Is Difficult to Protect Copyrights in Live-Show Platforms in China?

(By You Yunting) Some users of ZHIHU.com (One of the most well-organized community for sharing knowledges online) asked: Would the network host infringe any right while singing at his or her own live-show room? If one host receives the user contributions from the audiences for his or her singing at such live-broadcast room, would such behavior infringe any right? Here come my answers:

The biggest problem of the hosts’ singing at their own live-show rooms is not about whether such behaviors infringe any right or not. Instead, the right holders of such songs have tremendous difficulties in protecting their rights.

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DeBund Succeeds in Pushing Copycat Game App from AppStore

Recently, DeBund takes a big step forward in providing mobile internet legal services that You Yunting Team, on behalf of clients, succeeds in pulling a popular game from the AppStore by more than 10 lawyer’s letters.

The Developer of the complained game copied large amounts of background elements of a well-known game, including graphic design, plots, role names and geographic names, and also used the brand of the original game. The Developer also made a cartoon modeling on the game characters, and did a slight change to the game name, not exactly the same as the original game. The infringed benefits greatly from the complained game to millions of yuan every month.

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Does Story Plot Plagiarism Constitute Copyright Infringement in China?

(By You Yunting) Introduction to the Case:

In the first half of 2014, Palace 3: the Lost Daughter is a 2014 Chinese historical television series written and produced by Yu Zheng. In April 2014, a Taiwanese writer Chiung Yao made a letter claimed that Palace 3: the Lost Daughter (the “disputed show) was based on her novel Plum Blossom Scar (the “reference novel”), but Yu Zheng delayed. On May 28, 2014, Chiung Yao filed a lawsuit, claiming that Yu Zheng was unauthorized to copy her original core plot, recompose the disputed drama and produce and broadcast the disputed show with another 4 defendants. Chiung Yao thought that Yu Zheng had seriously violated her right of adaptation and cinematization, causing great mental damage, and requested Yu Zheng to immediate stop infringement, eliminate influences, make an apology and compensation of RMB 20 million for economic loss.

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Does Tudou.com Require Permission for the Use of YYeTs’ Unauthorized Subtitle Translation in China?

tudou

(By You Yunting) YYeTs is one of fansub groups in China, which translated foreign films and television program and subtitled into a language other than that of the original by fans (not officially licensed translator). YYeTs have translated many foreign films and television programs and developed very fast in China.

Recently,  YYeTs claimed that, as Tudou.com used, without permission, YYeTs’ subtitle translation for the video of the Voice and deleted the names of translator, YYeTs tried to negotiate with Tudou.com but was blamed for illegal translation. That raised a question: without the permission of the right holder for the Voice, could YYeTs’ translation receive protection from the Copyright Law?

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Introduction to Ownership of the Performer’s Right in China

(By Luo Yanjie) As China recently ratified the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, in today’s post, we will introduce the system and cases of the performers’ rights in the Copyright Law. As for who holds the performer’s right, different judgments will be found through three cases. Who holds the performer’s right? The performer, the company/organizationthat hires the performer, or the performing company/organization? These different judgments can become an obstacle for the further development of China’s performing arts.

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Why Did NCA Officials Attend Sohu.com’s Press Conference against Toutiao.com?

(By You Yunting) Recently, Sohu vs Toutiao has attracted attention from the media. Sohu sued Toutiao for copyright infringement and unfair competition, whilst Toutiao filed lawsuits against Sohu for defamation. It is quite normal for two enterprises in competition to take legal proceedings against each other. However, what really surprised us was, in their dispute, that governmental officials attended Sohu’s press conference, in favor of Sohu. In today’s post, we will discuss the reason for theimproper governmental interference. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

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China Laws and Regulations Update in July 2014

  1. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council Releases the newly revised Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (under Review) and Solicits Public Opinions for It

On 6 June 2014, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council released the newly revised Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (under Review) and solicited public opinions for it. The deadline for opinion solicitation will be 5 July 2014.

What is most significantly revised according to the draft copyright law under review includes provisions on objects, contents, ownership and the validity period of rights within the scope of copyright. Also, it has stipulated more penalties that will be imposed on those who infringe others’ copyrights and has set forth means of enforcement by administrative authorities concerned, who have powers of seizure and confiscation, which was first stipulated by laws.

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Is It Illegal for the SARFT to Prohibit Installing Youku and Iqiyi in Internet Cable Box?

广电总局

Is It Illegal for the SARFT to Prohibit Installing Youku and Iqiyi in Internet Cable Box?

–Analysis on the Prohibition of Installing Youku App and Iqiyi App on the Internet Cable Box

(By You Yunting) According to some media reports, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (the ”SARFT”) issued a rule to local administrations requesting to delete Youku App, Iqiyi App, Sohu App and browsers from Wasu Box and Internet cable Set-top boxes (the “boxes”), which enables users to support TV, games, online video, music and photos. At first glance, i was astonished how it could be called boxes if without Youku App, Iqiyi App and browsers. However, Hangzhou Wasu Digital TV Media Group confirmed receiving the rule shortly after the reports came out. That being the condition, we would like to analyze the rule.

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Traditional Media shall Enhance Themselves against Internet Infringement

toutiao

(By You Yunting) According to news media’s reports, the National Copyright Administration of China (the “NACA”), State Internet Information Office (the “SIIO”), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (the “MIIT”) and the Ministry of Public Security (the “MPC”) recently initiated the 10th special campaign dubbed “Sword Net Action” against online piracy and infringement, centered on cracking down on some websites’ unauthorized reprint from traditional media. This “Sword Net Action” could be better for traditional media, but governmental action gradually has different stages. Traditional media must improve practicing skills in the legal campaign against new Internet media.

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Is It Legitimate for Toutiao.com to Transcode News Websites for Mobile Users?

toutiao

(By You Yunting) According to news, Toutiao, a personalized news app, announced that Toutiao has secured 100 million dollar of Series C financing at a valuation of 500 million dollar. Afterwards, the Beijing News, a traditional paper news, soon posted a comment that Toutiao’s contents are suspected of copyright infringement. However, Toutiao instantly replied in denying infringement. In today’s post, we would like to analyze the infringement issues of Toutiao from the legal prospective.

First is to introduce the push approach of Toutiao. When visiting its official website on a computer, it is found to be relatively regulated, similar with the news channel of Baidu and Google, that every recommended news had an abstract linking to the original website which published the news.

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Why China Court Decision Requires Software Interface Primary Aesthetics under Protection?

(By Luo Yanjie) Pursuant to the Copyright Law, the works shall be original with primary aesthetics. From this point, most software interface can’t receive protection from the Copyright law, because most software interfaces are designated in a simple arrangement for the purpose of easy-to-use and thus are likely to be considered as lack of “distinctiveness”. The judgment in the following case set forth the theory.

Introduction to the Case:

Appellant (defendant at first instance): Shenzhen Tenda Technology Co., Ltd (the “Tenda”)

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Does QVOD Business Model Touch China’s Warning line of Government Regulatory?

qvod

(By You Yunting) Abstract:  The nature of “QVOD Business Model” is that both large and small-sized companies are to jointly infringe online copyrights. Under the facts that large companies provided technology and commerce and then small companies engaged in infringing works, such cooperation set up an environment of competitive advantages resulting from weak regulatory. This cooperation’s true cleverness comes from the deepen understanding of safe harbor rules and the Internet’s globalization and anonymity. If “QVOD Business Model” is continuous operating, such model may be cumulative legal risks and thus is likely that a criminal investigation can make an end of “QVOD Business Model”.

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How Many Ways would be Available to Protect Online Copyright?

 (By You Yunting) Within the World Intellectual Property Day approaching, Zhihu.com invited me to answer some questions about the popularization of intellectual property rights with the second topic below regarding what channels of online copyright enforcement would be available in China.

Yesterday, we discussed what are the difficulties in the online copyright enforcement in China. With different types of infringement, today I will discuss how to protect online copyright. Actually, there are three channels consisting of online criticism, complaints and litigation.

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