Increasingly Strict Law Enforcement in IP Protection in China

Recently, General Administration of Customs of PRC published ten typical cases regarding infringement of trademark rights, proudly to say, two of which were represented by our law firm. The publication of these cases is a signal of enhancing trademark protection by China’s government, not only for domestic brands, but also for foreign brands.

Trademark protection, however, does not influence our life directly. What I really want to talk about is the continuously enhanced copyright protection in China. Several years ago and even now, Chinese people get used to enjoying free music, films and books online, and like to buy pirates for their extremely low price. We have access to this free and endless treasure and ignore the great effort and high cost of creating them. We almost take them for granted. Nevertheless, things are changing these years, slowly at first, and then quicker and quicker. If we want to download some music online, we must pay for it, and if we want to see some movies, they are not free anymore. One of my friends used to operate a website which provides American episodes for free. He got the sources from an international online pirate base and made a profit by publishing other companies’ advertisements on his website. He consulted me many times and I advised him to stop, for that may not only incur civil liability on him, but also the criminal result. He had luck psychology at first and ran his illegal business for years, for despite of the civil and criminal laws on copyright protection, the law enforcement is not strict anymore. Last year, however, he stopped his business actively, even without my advice, for many websites like his were punished by a huge amount of penalty and some operators of the websites were punished by an imprisonment. I am happy for his wise choice, because if he hadn’t stopped, he wouldn’t have escaped from legal liability.

It is seemingly that IP protection does no good to our common people’s life, for it increases our cost for spiritual entertainment. According to my observation, however, Chinese people from different communities really support this trend. With economic growth and education improvement, Chinese people can afford the money for intellectual property and we also learn to respect the labor and effort of IP creators. Besides, the key reason is quite simple, if we get free works now, we probably can’t get good works in the future.

Published by Mike Wang on April 29th, 2016 tagged China Blawg's thoughts, China Law, Intellectual Property

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