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China: Decision of November 11, 2020, of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Amending the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China

June 1, 2021

China: The Decision of November 11, 2020, of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Amending the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China entered into force on June 1, 2021.

The Decision introduces amendments to the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China to enhance protection for copyright owners, particularly relating to digital piracy and to bring Chinese copyright law into line with international treaties.

The amendments include, inter alia, the following:

(i) redefining works and type of works: (a) the definition of works is changed to "intellectual achievements that are original in the fields of literature, art and science, and can be expressed in a certain form"; (b) "cinematographic and works created by a process analogous to cinematography" is replaced by the broader term "audio-visual works", which expands the scope of copyright protection; the scope of neighboring rights in sound recordings and broadcasting rights is broadened; and provisions related to "digitized" reproduction of works are added;

(ii) providing new criteria for calculating damages compensation, increasing the statutory damages to 5 million yuan and the minimum to 500 yuan, and introducing punitive damages to improve the cost of infringement allowing courts to award punitive damages equal to the amount of regular damages but no more than five times for intentional and malicious infringements;

(iii) redefining rules on collective management organizations;

(iv) entrusting copyright authorities with additional investigative powers when investigating suspected infringements;

(v) shifting in burden of proof and destruction of infringing copies;

(vi) allowing copyright owners to take technological protection measures ("TPM") in order to protect their copyright and copyright-related rights;

(vii) changing the concept of fair use and including access to published works for visually and otherwise impaired persons.