China: the 2018 Net Sword Action

On July 16, the National Copyright Administration and the National Network Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Public Security jointly held the “Jianwang 2018” special action briefing in Beijing, announcing the launch of the “2018 Net Sword Action” (剑网行动). The 2018 campaign turns the spotlight on copyright infringement and piracy in the areas of network reprinting, short video, and audiobooks. Various measures will be adopted to deal with copyright infringement, including classified monitoring, rectification, administrative penalties, and criminal charges. The campaign will last from July to November 2018. It will focus on:
  • Online Reprinted Copyright Work
In view of the current online infringement through “individual media”, particularly Weibo and WeChat, the special rectification will focus on cracking down on the infringement of unauthorized reprinting and modification of news works. It will also strive to regulate the republication of copyrighted works in search engines, browsers, application stores, and microblogs such as Weibo and WeChat. Social network accounts could be banned and closed.
  • Copyright on Short Video
Short videos or items from short videos are largely copied and made available to the public without prior authorization of the copyright owners. According to the State administration, many works have been modified and made public online in the name of fair use. During the 2018 action, the platforms hosting short videos will be monitored and guided in order for them and users to follow and respect the laws and regulations related to copyright.
  • Other Copyrights in Key Areas
The Chinese administration has identified three key areas with special needs, namely:
The animation works: Chinese authorities will crack down pirated animation works unauthorizedly made public through websites, Apps, Internet users’ public accounts, etc. as well as unauthorized use of animation images to create games, toys, stationery, clothing or else.
Webcasting, knowledge, and audiobook platforms. The special action will focus on rectifying the unauthorized use of others’ works in relevant platforms.
The 2018 action will further strengthen copyright monitoring in order to consolidate efforts previously done in the areas of film and television, online music, e-commerce platforms, App stores, and cloud storage.
Since 2005, China conducts annual “Sword Net Actions” against copyright online infringement. By using different legal and administrative means, the action is considered as an advanced management of copyright in the digital world. Under the “Network Security Law” and the “Regulation on Internet Information Service”, it is aimed at guiding platform companies to regulate copyright authorization and disseminate the rules with the view of building a digital environment that respects copyright.

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