Internet Copyright Protection Faces Conundrum

On the occasion of the 12th World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, 2012, Baidu, one of the leading Internet companies in China, officially launched a link on its home page to promote the protection of intellectual property on the Internet in collaboration with the National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China.

It is regarded as "a new attempt of China-style copyright protection" since the Internet piracy has become a worldwide problem.

Qu Sanqiang, professor of Intellectual Property Law in the Peking University Law School, said that it is doomed to be a tough war for the government, Internet operators, the copyright owners and general public that how a work can keep balance between free communication and copyright protection.

Piracy can be seen everywhere on the Internet.

The Internet platform has become a hard hit area of infringement of copyright.

In the eyes of network communication expert Kuang Wenbo, who is also a professor of the School of Journalism and Communication of Renmin University, almost all of the domestic websites in China did not escape from piracy.

Why does the Internet have so much magic? Zhang Hongbo, director general of the China Written Works Copyright Society, believes that the copy phenomenon is everywhere and happens all the time in the age of Internet, which has led to the inability of traditional copyright protection.

The concept of payment before using has not yet been formed.

In Kuang's opinion, the main resistance came from the legislative level. For example, the heavy cost of evidence collecting and low compensation. If someone finds that his article is illegally reproduced, it will be very difficult for him to investigate and collect evidences. Even if he successfully protects his legal rights, he only gets compensation according to the remuneration standards. The cost on evidence collecting is not in proportion to the compensation.

Kuang told the reporter that it is difficult to find the concept of "private knowledge" and "exclusive copyright" in traditional Chinese culture but "piracy is not to steal." The concept of private copyright cannot find a support in Chinese cultural atmosphere.

Qu said that the modern concept of copyright has not yet been formed and the majority of the public are accustomed to share the works of others free of charge, which maybe is the biggest obstacle on copyright protection on the Internet.

Is it irreconcilable between filling the information gap and copyright protection?

Cheng Tao said that China-style copyright protection seemingly contradicts the free knowledge obtainment. In fact, it is rooted in the current stage of social development. Qu said that the copyright system is a game rule set for rich men and most are still poor.

Poor grassroots have their own difficulties to purchase the legal copies.

"Why do so many people buy and download pirated books? Because a legal copy normally needs 30 yuan or 40 yuan and a cassette tape needs 50 yuan or 60 yuan. Many Chinese people are poor, especially students. They cannot get knowledge because they have no money. Therefore, a vicious cycle that the poorer the people are the less they get knowledge will be formed," said a netizen nicknamed "wangyuling0012." Many people are worried that the unequal access to information and knowledge may lead rich people to become richer and poor people become poorer.

Source: China Youth Daily

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

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