On 31 March 2012, the National Copyright Administration of the PRC (NCAC) released a draft of proposed amendments to the PRC Copyright Law (the "Draft"). The amendments, if approved, will become the third and most comprehensive revision of the Copyright Law to date.
From an overall perspective, the Draft does not propose any ground-breaking amendments to the existing copyright laws. The amendments set out in the Draft are in response to legal issues in the market place as well as the development of new technologies or media.
In brief, the Draft proposes the following noticeable amendments:
- To extend the scope of copyrightable works;
- To encourage copyright registration;
- To expand the scope of copyrights to include resale royalty rights;
- To offer clearer rules governing copyright ownership relating to joint works, employees' works, audio-visual works and commissioned works;
- To amend the restrictions applicable to certain copyrights;
- To make copyright protection available to all technical protection measures whether on or off the Internet;
- To increase the maximum statutory damages from the current RMB 500,000 to RMB 1 million and allow punitive damages for repeat willful infringement; and
- To grant more powers to administrative copyright enforcement agencies (i.e. local subordinates of the NCAC).
We have produced a note highlighting noticeable amendments that are proposed in the Draft. It also discusses issues that would need clarifications from the lawmaker or judiciary; as well as potential impacts on copyright proprietors.