Draft Internet copyright regulations invite public feedback

Updated: 2012-04-23 16:55


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BEIJING - The public have been invited to give feedback on the newly drafted regulations aimed at defining what constitutes of an infringement of Internet copyright.

Internet users and network service providers will be held accountable for infringement of copyright if they provide accesses to literary, video and audio content via the web without being permitted by copyright holders, according to the draft regulations released by the Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Sunday.

Furthermore, the regulations explained how Internet users or companies should be defined as "providing access of content without permission," referring to unauthorized uploads of this content for others to view, or download. Even providing links or search engine services that enable others to download this material without permission constitutes a breach of the regulations.

The draft regulations, as a judicial interpretation to the Internet copyright infringement, comes after a scandal involving Chinese search engine giant Baidu last year.

Over 40 Chinese writers accused Baidu of "stealing" their work by publishing it online, and offering free downloads as part of its free literary database Wenku.

Baidu first said the work in question was initially uploaded by Internet users. It eventually apologized to the authors and removed 2.8 million items from its document sharing services section, promising improved measures for copyright protection.

The battle was believed to have increased public awareness of intellectual property rights protection in China.

The proposed rules also urge Internet companies to voluntarily censor their material, and unearth Internet copyright infringement caused by the Internet users themselves.

People from all walks of life are encouraged to contribute their feedback through the SPC's website www.court.gov.cn before June 1.