China Solicits Public Comments on Copyright Law (Draft Revision for Review)
On June 6, 2014, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council circulated the Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (Draft Revision for Review) (the Draft Revision) for public comments. Compared to the prior version of the Copyright Law, the Draft Revision introduces several major changes as summarized below.
Private Agreement on Copyright Ownership. The modifications in the Draft Revision reflect that in certain cases, parties involved may privately agree on the copyright ownership of the work created. For example, copyright ownership in the work created by an employee in the course of his/her employment may be decided by the employer and employee.
Collective Administration of Copyright. The current Copyright Law only contains one general article (i.e., Article 8) which provides that (i) copyright owners and owners of related rights may authorize a copyright collective administration organization (the Administration Organization) to exercise their copyright or related rights; and (ii) the Administration Organization may, upon authorization, claim the rights for the copyright owner or owners of related rights in its own name, and act as a party in litigations or arbitrations involving the copyright or related rights. The Draft Revision includes a separate chapter to set forth in detail (among other things) the nature, rights and duties of the Administration Organization, as well as the competent authority regulating the activities of the Administration Organization.
Calculation of Damages Resulting from Infringement. The current Copyright Law provides that the infringer of a copyright should pay damages based on the actual loss of the right holder. The Draft Revision proposes to introduce the flexibility for the copyright owner to claim damages based on different measures at his/her option. Possible measures include actual losses, the illegal income gained by the infringer, or a specific amount below RMB 1 million.