ARTS / CULTURE & LEISURE
China’s rapidly developed short videos spell disaster for internet intellectual property
Published: Apr 08, 2021 05:20 PM
A female anchor of celebrity beauty in short video platform Douyin shares the delicious food with netizens while eating crayfish on June 6. The booming night market of Shanghai nightlife festival promoted the economy of eating show. Photo: IC

A female anchor of celebrity beauty in short video platform Douyin shares the delicious food with netizens while eating crayfish on June 6. The booming night market of Shanghai nightlife festival promoted the economy of eating show. Photo: IC

Every day after work, the most enjoyable thing for Beijinger Liu Jianran is to become a couch potato and watch some clips about the latest hit Chinese dramas on short video apps.

"There are so many good dramas that I want to watch, but I like watching some clips or short videos about them edited by vloggers since I don't have much time or the patience to watch all of them from the beginning to the end," Liu told the Global Times.

According to Liu, she mainly likes to follow romantic plots, and these types of videos prove both entertaining and time saving. Meanwhile, she often watches short recaps of movies through some short videos titled "watching a film within five minutes." 

However, Liu does not realize that she is helping vloggers infringe on the copyright of film and television works.   

"This kind of short video that uses the original resource constitutes infringement," Wu Xiaolin, a lawyer in copyright law, told the Global Times. 

"An important criterion for judging infringement is whether the act is for profit or not," added Xu Xinming, another lawyer specializing in copyright law.

The 12426 Copyright Monitoring Center revealed that the infringement rate of original content was as high as 92.9 percent from 2019 to October 2020 on social media platforms. The rapidly developed short videos are becoming the latest high incidence of internet intellectual property infringement. Data shows that popular TV dramas, variety shows, and movies are the main targets of this infringement. For example, there were 269,300 infringing links to Chinese anti-corruption drama In The Name of the People during the shows height, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Chen Ningxi, a Chinese traditional clothing vlogger on Douyin, the Chinese regional version of TikTok, told the Global Times that she has been a "victim" of short video copyright infringement.  

"I am really mad of some plagiarists. When I come up with some fresh idea and turn it into a short video online, some copiers will quickly follow and produce a video with a similar creation to attract more fans, and it is hard to punish them by law as the copying is hard to define," said Chen.

"Defining whether a short video is original or an infringment is sometimes difficult in practice. Short videos need to be regulated further," Beijing-based lawyer Shen Binti told the Global Times.

Wu suggested setting up short video infringement identification and detection system and complaint channels on social media platforms. The short video platform association should also self regulate.

He added that a newly revised copyright law will take effect on June 1. Under this law, infringers might face a penalty of one to five times the amount of income earned from infringing content. They may also have to provide compensation ranging from 500 yuan ($75) to 5 million yuan. "Obviously, the revised Copyright Law has increased penalties for infringement."

"It will take time to implement the revised law, but I believe the situation will be better after this June," said Shen.


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