China’s National Copyright Administration released it plans for the 13th Five Year Plan regarding copyright (the “Plan”), attached here (including machine translation). The plan comes on the back of the State Council’s 13th Five Year Plan for the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property (January 16, 2017), which has further elevated IP in China’s state planning hierarchy.
The Plan reflects the State Council’s decision on China becoming a “Strong IP Country” and includes much of what one might expect from a state planning document on copyright. For example, it notes that China will complete its revision of the much delated copyright law reforms, as well as related implementing regulations and ministerial rules. The plan also emphasizes improvement of administrative enforcement, including criminal/administrative coordination, and working with the National IPR Leading Group and other agencies, rather than civil enforcement/remedies/injunctive relief, etc. The draft also reflects the regrettable tendencies of the patent system of focusing on IP quantity as opposed to quality, with goals of increasing copyright registrations to 2,780,000 and software registrations to 600,000 by 2020, as well as creating additional demonstration cities and other copyright promotion projects.
The plan laudably calls for increased cooperation with foreign countries including “cooperative strategic MOU’s” with the United States and other countries, as well as “working on more programs with international associations based in Beijing” , and resolution of bilateral issues in a “win-win” environment.
The draft also recognizes that “infringement of copyright is still relatively common, and the copyright environment in reality still needs to take steps forward to improve.” However the report also notes that China is a “developing country” and it needs to avoid “excessive protection and abusive protection.”
Despite China having a huge copyright civil docket (over 60,000 cases in 2015), the report focuses exclusively on public enforcement and supervision mechanisms, including various interagency efforts, with commitments to:
Further strengthen copyright enforcement coordination mechanisms and promote improvement culture at all levels of law enforcement agencies implementation of the copyright law enforcement mechanisms, effective copyright enforcement in cultural market administrative law enforcement functions, use “anti-piracy and pornography” work organization and coordination mechanisms to strengthen Public security, Industry and Commerce, MIIT, Network Security and other departments, to cooperate and form collaborative copyright enforcement efforts. Strengthening the convergence of copyright administrative law enforcement and criminal justice, actively participate in the construction and use of national action against Counterfeit and Substandard goods enforcement and criminal justice information sharing platform for convergence of, and further information in copyright enforcement cases. Better play an oversight role for local law enforcement supervision and social rights, the establishment of local copyright law enforcement cooperation mechanisms cooperation with corporations, associations and copyright law enforcement mechanisms. [the link inserted is my own addition]
The government management approach to copyright is also reflected in a call for increased government subventions for copyright creation through “seeking financial support and preferential policies, and increasing the intensity of support for copyright.” This approach could result in further distortions of China’s IP environment, much as has occurred in the High and New Technology Enterprise program.
Note: Wordcloud at the beginning of this blog is from the machine translation of the Plan.