New media tangles with copyright

Updated: 2016-06-22 07:56

By Luo Wangshu(China Daily USA)

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Rapid growth of mobile internet platforms leading to disputes with traditional outlets

Copyright disputes between new and traditional media are growing, and require a mature copyright protection system, according to a new report.

The annual report, released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China's top think tank, on Tuesday, looked into the development of new media in China.

"Copyright infringement has restrained new media's development," said Tang Xujun, lead researcher of the report and director of the Institute of Journalism and Communication at CASS.

This week, Beijing News, a newspaper with a reputation for investigative reports, sued, a Shandong-based news website, for illegally using more than 1,000 stories produced by the newspaper. The case was filed at the Dongcheng District People's Court.

New media tangles with copyright

Toutiao, a headline news application, claims that it does not produce news but only transfers news to the platform. Toutiao was sued by many traditional news media organizations in 2015.

Newspapers in Hubei and Jiangxi provinces sued Toutiao in August, accusing of the application "stealing" their intellectual property.

The two papers also reported how the application infringes their intellectual property.

"Toutiao does not have a team to produce news, but as a news collection platform it gathers many news products. Is it innovation or theft? There are many different views," Tang said.

"It is a commonly agreed that copyright protection needs to be boosted to enhance the development of new media," said Tang, adding that Toutiao, for example, is making efforts to sign agreements with traditional media to use their content legally.

"Social platforms are also becoming a breeding-ground for copyright infringement," the report said.

Tencent, parent company of Wexin, China's most popular social platform, released copyright infringement statistics in January. It found that nearly 60 percent of complaints against public accounts were for copyright infringement.

Many traditional media organizations have expanded their business to the internet, the report said. Last year media organizations accounted for more than 26,000 accounts. Of those, more than 17,000 were owned by traditional media, including newspapers, television and magazines, according to the report.

"The internet has infiltrated every aspect of China's social development, becoming a new engine for the media's emergence. The internet has also become an important communication platform for China's voice and to enhance soft power," said Li Peilin, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"I get all news through my mobile phone, including Weixin accounts and news apps," said Peng Bin, a 31-year-old government employee in Beijing.

"It is more convenient, I can read news on the subway and I do not need to pay," she said.

New media tangles with copyright

(China Daily USA 06/22/2016 page5)