In an article that first appeared in the World Trademark Review, John Wang and Guilin Gu of the law firm Kangxin Partners PC, paint a rosy picture of the future for foreign and domestic rights holders for both monetization and protection of their content on the Internet in China.
The writers note three different organizations that are the primary vehicle for enforcement in China: the National Copyright Administration, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce and the State Intellectual Property Office, and their local counterparts.
“Several statutes create a legal framework that provides copyright holders with the necessary statutory basis to bring actions against online infringers effectively,” the article, titled “Looking to a bright future,” points out.
“Additional copyright for online audiovisual works can be obtained through the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, as is evidenced by its recent takedown of numerous allegedly infringing online video websites.”
The writers add: “Of key importance to copyright owners when dealing with online infringers is the administrative takedown mechanism, which is similar to that set out in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
A safe harbour from liability is also available for websites that were unaware of the infringing activities.”
The case Shuman v. Sony Music Entertainment et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is shaping up to be one to watch.
Songwriter Earl Shuman, who co-wrote the song “Hey There Lonely Boy” – later made a hit by former Delfonics and Stylistics singer Eddie Holman as “Hey There Lonely Girl” – is suing singer Alicia Keys because of the way she sings the phrase “lonely girl” in her current hit “Fire.” It amounts to three notes.
The song was also recently featured in a Citibank commercial. Shuman is seeking damages and profits for the unauthorized use.