The protection of copyright in China implements the principle of automatic protection, namely once the works is produced and completed, it is protected without necessary performance of registration procedure. However, China practices the system of voluntary registration for works. The registration is advantageous to preliminarily proving the ownership of copyright. There are three kinds of legal proceedings that can stop the infringement of copyright:
1. Administrative procedure: Article 47 of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” stipulates that anyone who commits any of the following acts of infringement shall bear civil liability for such remedies as ceasing the infringing act, eliminating the effects of the act, making an apology or paying damages, depends on the circumstances, and may, in addition, be subjected by a copyright administration department to such administrative penalties as ceasing the infringing act, confiscating unlawful income from the act, confiscating and destroying infringing reproductions and imposing a fine; where the circumstances are serious, the copyright administration department may also confiscate the materials, tools and equipments mainly used for making the infringing reproductions; and if the act constitutes a crime, the infringer shall be prosecuted for his criminal liability.
(1) Reproducing, distributing, performing, showing, broadcasting, compiling or communicating to the public on an information network a work created by another person, without the permission of the copyright owner, unless otherwise provided in this Law;
(2) Publishing a book where the exclusive right of publication belongs to another person;
(3) Reproducing and distributing a sound recording or video recording of a performance, or communicating to the public his performance on an information network without the permission of the performer, unless otherwise provided in the Law;
(4) Reproducing and distributing or communicating to the public on an information network a sound recording or video recording produced by another person, without the permission of the producer, unless otherwise provided in the Law;
(5) Broadcasting or reproducing a radio or television program produced by a radio station or television station without the permission of the radio station or television station, unless otherwise provided in the Law;
(6) Intentionally circumventing or destroying the technological measures taken by a right holder for protecting the copyright and copyright related rights in his work, sound recording or video recording, without the permission of the copyright owner or the owner of the copyright related rights, unless otherwise provided in law or in administrative regulations.
(7) Intentionally deleting or altering the electronic right management information of a work, sound recording or video recording, without the permission of the copyright owner or the owner of a copyright related right, unless otherwise provided in law or in administrative regulations; or
(8) Producing or selling a work where the signature of another is counterfeited.
2. Civil procedure: Articles 46 and 47 of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” stipulate the following civil liabilities for copyright infringing acts.
(1) Cessation of the infringement
(2) Elimination of any effects of the act
(3) Making an apology
(4) Compensation for any losses
The infringee of a copyright infringing act can file civil litigation in Court and request the infringer to bear corresponding civil liabilities.
3. Criminal procedure: Article 217 of the “Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China” stipulates that: whoever, for the purpose of reaping profits, has committed one of the following acts of copyright infringement and gains a fairly large amount of illicit income or when there are other serious circumstances, is to be sentenced to not more than three years of fixed term imprisonment, criminal detention, and may in addition or exclusively to sentenced to a fine; when the amount of illicit income is huge or when there are other particularly serious circumstances, he is to be sentenced to not less than three years and not more than seven years of fixed term imprisonment and a fine:
(1) Copy and distribute written, musical, movie, televised and video works, computer software and other works without the permission of their copyrighters;
(2) Publish books whose copyrights are exclusively owned by others;
(3) Duplicate and distribute audiovisual works without the permission of their producers;
(4) Produce and sell artistic works bearing fake signature of others. The victim of copyright infringement crime, according to circumstance, can institute criminal private prosecution in Court or report to the Public Security Bureau to prosecute the infringer’s criminal liability.
When filing copyright litigation:
1. A copyright infringement case should be under the jurisdiction of the People’s Court in the place where the crime was committed or where the defendant resides.
2. Prescription for instituting legal proceedings concerning the infringement of copyright is two years counted from the date on which the copyrighter or any interested party obtain or should have obtained knowledge of the infringing act.