On November 11, the 23rd Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress approved the amended copyright law, which will be in force on June 1 next year.
A raft of harsher sanctions is set to force infringers to pay a deeper price for their mischiefs. Serious intentional infringements may trigger punitive damages between one and five times over regular damages. Courts of law may award damages between 500 yuan and 5 million yuan, depending on the circumstances of infringements, when it is difficult to determine right holders’ losses, infringers’ benefits and reasonable royalties.
Changes are made in the definition of works, with the current ‘cinematographic works and works created in a way similar to cinematography’ replaced by ‘audio visual works’, meaning the expanded protection range covers short videos on the Internet and other emerging types of works.
In response to scarce and weak enforcement tools, the amended law allows competent copyright authorities to question interested parties when investigating alleged copyright infringement and right-related matters, search alleged premises and goods, read and copy contracts, invoices, ledgers in question and shut down or seize alleged premises and goods.
Copyright holders may invoke technical measures to guard their copyrights and other related rights, as explicitly provided by the law.