Two unrelated copyright stories, although I find it interesting that at the same time a major civil suit regarding authors’ rights is being heard, the country is poring over the second draft amendments to the Copyright Law. One of the big issues in the draft is the royalty structure for creative folks in the music business.
Some links for you. If you want to go right to the source for information on the amendment, the draft is available here, along with explanatory commentary. (h/t ChinaIPR)
For copyright commentary, I would always recommend the China Copyright and Media blog. Rogier has already written a lengthy post on the second revision: A Brief Explanation concerning the Revision and Perfection of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” (Second Revision Draft). He also has extensive links on the revision process and third party commentaries.
The writers’ lawsuit against Baidu has been going on for a while and is finally in court:
A Beijing court on July 10 began hearing a lawsuit filed by popular Chinese writer and blogger Han Han against Internet search engine Baidu. The trial marks the first showdown between the Writers’ Union, an organization which aims to safeguard writers’ copyright online, and Baidu Wenku, a free Internet library where people can read and download books. Proceedings got under way at 2 pm at the Haidian District People’s Court.
In the indictment, Wang Guohua, the attorney representing Han Han and the union, accuses Baidu of violating writers’ copyright, and demands that the company closes its online library and prints an apology on its homepage for seven days.
Han Han, who is also a member of the Copyright Protection Alliance, is asking for 760,000 yuan ($119,000) in damages. In March last year, more than 40 writers, including Han Han and novelist Jia Pingwa, signed a letter accusing Baidu of offering their works as free downloads on its online library without permission.
I don’t know much about the case, so no commentary here from me. I was expecting a settlement last year, but apparently the two sides could not come to terms. I assume the major issue here relates to what is proper compensation for use of the literary works. (Unless Baidu has a nifty defense I haven’t heard about before.)
Stay tuned for updates on both of these stories. The copyright law amendment process will take some time yet, but we’ll find out about the Baidu litigation fairly soon.