Copyright issues addressed in light of emerging tech, business models

Experts attend recent forum, call for greater protection across industry sectors

Amid new emerging business models and the rise in the application of new technologies, experts called for increased copyright protection at a recent forum in Beijing.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data pose challenges to copyright protection, said Yu Cike, director-general of the copyright management department at the National Copyright Administration.

To deal with the challenges, the authorities need to employ various means to increase efficiency in enforcement, improve services to encourage creativity and enhance international exchanges to benefit innovation, he said.

Gong Yu, founder and chief executive of video streaming company iQiyi, said copyright protection has enabled internet video streaming and digital publication businesses in China to boom.

His company issued its initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange in late March. It generated 4.9 billion yuan ($769.6 million) in revenue in the first quarter of this year. "Without copyright protection, we cannot reach where we have gone so far," Gong said.

Xiong Xiaoge, board chairman of IDG Capital, said like other sectors, the music industry cannot become stronger if piracy issues are not resolved.

"The best weapon to fight piracy is blockchain technology," Xiong said. His opinion was echoed by other experts participating in the event.

Yu Jianing, head of an industrial and economic research institute at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said blockchain technology, which features decentralization and greater credibility, can be used widely in the creation and management of content such as movies.

The first step to affirm the ownership of a movie is to prove its copyright, Yu said.

A key feature of blockchain is that the information in the chain cannot be falsified and thus it can provide convincing evidence using electrical information, he noted.

Furthermore, blockchain technology helps to increase data credibility and facilitate transactions in the movie market, he added.

After AI-based research technology is employed, it will be easier to distinguish pirated products and authentic ones whose key data have been stored in the blockchain, said Yu, adding that the use of the technology will advance copyright business to reach a highly automated and intelligent level.

To date, blockchain technology has been applied to some domestic markets of copyrighted content, and telecommunications giant Huawei and retail portal JD have begun to expand their intellectual property portfolio in the sector, China Intellectual Property News reported. Qi Aimin, head of an internet and big data strategy research institute at Chongqing University, said blockchain has the advantages of low costs and high data security so it helps traders lacking mutual trust to sign deals.

"The technology can ensure the control and safety of products' distribution process, and thus guarantee the interests of copyright owners," Qi said.

At the forum, the National Copyright Administration's copyright management department, the Copyright Society of China's copyright monitoring center and China Mobile Communications Corp's subsidiary Migu signed an agreement on cooperation in online protection.

Ergeng, a company founded three years ago specializing in the creation of video content, rolls out an average 5,000 original short videos annually.

Li Ming, its director and president of its internet business, said he has a headache dealing with unauthorized use of the company's products for adaptation, citation and compilation.

Data from iResearch, an online data analysis and consulting company, show that China's short video content market was worth 5.73 billion yuan last year, with the figure projected to top 30 billion yuan in 2020.

As more and more short video content is being produced, it is creating a growing number of challenges for copyright protection, particularly with short videos which may contain some copyrighted content, experts at the forum said.

Whether a short video with copyrighted content constitutes piracy needs to be judged from the perspectives of its creation and distribution, said Pan Wei, assistant presiding judge of the intellectual property division of the Beijing High People's Court.

Wang Yong, senior partner of JT&N law firm in Beijing, said that as an emerging business, the short video sector needs to make full use of new internet technologies, including remote notaries, to resolve piracy issues.

He suggested punitive damages for repeated or malicious infringements. "At the same time, the public's IP awareness needs to be further increased," Wang said. "That is a fundamental solution and we still have a long way to go."

(Source: China Daily)