Why Chinese Version of Copyright Law & Fair Use is Different

Since China became a signatory to the Berne Convention in 1992 and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in 2001, the copyright laws of this country is in line with the United States of America and other developed countries. But China has no equivalent to the American doctrine of “fair use,” which stipulates that you can reproduce a copyrighted work without permission if it falls under a range of excepted categories, such as parody or educational materials.

There is no denying that one could easily find pirated copies of DVDs, CDs and books in the Chinese market. Although the trend has dwindled a lot over the last couple of years but it is not because of the Chinese authority’s effort to curb the evil practice of piracy, it’s because the market has moved to the Internet. China is trying to deal with copyright infringement on the internet while embracing its convenience where everyone can be a news carrier or a storyteller.

For years, Foreign governments are urging China to take a stronger stand against pervasive violations of intellectual property rights on products ranging from medicines to software to DVD movies sold on the street. Mega Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are taking this issue seriously and fighting legal cases regarding copyright infringement. Taking this into account, Chinese authorities are also joining the effort to fight counterfeit and copyright related matters. In spite of all these commendable efforts, copyright infringement is still a major problem that hasn’t been removed entirely.

Most of the young people watch American TV shows, such as Friends and the Big Bang Theory ( it is one of the first American shows to strike a deal with Chinese video streaming companies). There aren’t really any legitimate places to buy these things, so you have to go to the street dealers.

Article 22 of China’s Copyright Law-

Any invention or utility model for which patent right may be granted must possess novelty, inventiveness and practical applicability.

“Novelty” means that, before the date of filing, no identical invention or utility model has been publicly disclosed in publications in the country or abroad or has been publicly used or made known to the public by any other means in the country, nor has any other person filed previously with the patent office an application which described the identical invention or utility model and was published after the said date of filing.

“Inventiveness” means that, as compared with the technology existing before the date of filing the invention has prominent substantive features and represents a notable progress and that the utility model has substantive features and represents progress.

“Practical Applicability” means that the invention or utility model can be made or used and can produce effective results.

With the growing value of the copyrighted material in Chinese market, it is paramount for the foreign businesses to take a broader view of IP protection in this country. Licensing TV shows in China is a lucrative business. In order to make sure you are making best return from your investment take legal action when you find another media company using your copyrighted material.

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Actions Foreign Companies can take to Prevent the Amazon Listing of their Duplicate Product

Counterfeiting of products is an overwhelming issue that has been there for years in China. It only gets worse with the emergence of advanced technology. The matter has taken a serious turn when US and European companies have complained about the availability of their fake consumer product manufactured in China appearing on Amazon.

These counterfeit products have hampered thirty to eighty percent business of the foreign companies. China lawyers often get inquiries from the overseas businesses, seeking assistance on how to reduce the risk of their fake product showing up on Amazon. Here’s a list of hand-picked solutions which can prove helpful to the foreign companies to prevent their counterfeit products appearing on the Amazon.

  • File for United States Trademark Protection- It is a fantastic idea to file for US trademark protection. Amazon usually takes quick response in displacing products from their site if they infringe a registered U.S. trademark. It has been noted that Amazon will never remove your counterfeit product in case it is not using your trademark. Without a legal order given by the court, Amazon will not take down cloned products.
  • File for China Trademark Protection- If you are concerned about counterfeit goods coming from China, your next step should be to register your trademark with Chinese Customs. This is not a legal requirement, but a practical one. Having a China trademark will offer you the peace of mind that, products identical to yours will be removed from Amazon.
  • Stop your China manufacturer from competing with you- constant monitoring along with blocking your China manufacturer from competing with you for counterfeit products in an effective way to stop fake products.
  • Copyright your key photos in the United States or in China or in both countries- It is a great idea to have the image rights of your products in both USA and China. Doing this will give you the upper hand when someone copies your products. The original manufacturer could send a cease and desist letter or look into civil litigation. It will be easier for you to sue the counterfeit company and get the decision in your favor.
  • Build your brand and aware your consumers of fake products- It has been noted that companies that are trying to build their brand remain a step ahead of their competitor. And also if you can make your brand popularize among your customers they could easily distinguish yours from the fake ones.

Technology has given counterfeiters the ability to make convincing electronic ripoffs fast while the Internet has made it easier to buy counterfeit products. So it is the primary responsibility of companies to take necessary action to prevent the counterfeit production of their products and their listings on the platforms such as Amazon.

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