Archive for the 'license' Category

Google’s License renewed, and ISP Liability Released

The game of “Spoting the Difference” starts again!

Google’s ICP license renewed. See the captured today’s Google.cn web page below (left), and compare it with the page in last week (right).

Google.cn on 9 July 2010:
Google.cn on 4 July 2010:

Exactly as what I predicted few days ago, Google is trying to make Google.cn being a non-search engine website. It now places “Music”, “Translation” and “Shopping” at the web page. These are what Google wishes to keep on running in China. While the search engine service of Google.cn is replaced by a link to google.com.hk. Legally speaking, Google.cn is not providing search engine service currently. It is merely a link to another website. Just like the links added in any of our own web posts.

Interestingly, please pay attention to those minor changes. It seems Google’s lawyers are demonstrating their legal skills. For example, in the 4 July version, it says “we have moved to (我们已经移至) google.com.hk”, while in current page, “we have moved to” has been moved. Why? I assume the reason might be: The sentence “WE have moved to” acknowledged that the one who runs “google.com.hk” is identically the same one who runs “google.cn”. In that circumstance, Google.cn would still be critisized by Chinee authority on providing searching results including “illegal” materials. Without such sentence, when it is accused by the government, Google China may say that it is an independent legal entity who is distinctive from the operator of google.com.hk.

Besides the censorship topic. Let’s discuss something about intellectual property law (this might be more interesting): Is there any difference between providing a link to a search engine and providing a search engine service per se?

Yes, of course.

When you place a link to a web page. You will not be a service provider, therefore you will not be liable for the copyright/trademark infringement even when the linked page is full of infringing materials. If a right owner wants your money, he/she at least has to send you a notice saying “hey! The web page you are linking is full of my proprietary stuff. Please move that hyperlink!” After you recieved such letter, in China, you may have to remove the link if there is really infringing contents at the web page you are linking to. However, now in the Google’s circumstance, this will no be a problem because google.cn is linking to google.com.hk, which is owned by google.cn’s parent company.

In short, by replacing search box with a hyperlink to google.com.hk, Google.cn may escape from being accused for vicarious liability, which is by far a “killing application” of the intellectual property holders in this era of the Cambrian explosion of the Internet.

English Abstracts of the Chinese Entries at BlawgDog (Dec. 21th – Jan. 24th)

 

This movie was made by a few Chinese WOW players. The story is well edited and all the episodes are captured from te WOW game. In this remix movie, the story of the dispute between two Chinese governmental departments on the licensing of the WOW and the the players’ rebellion of the electrotherapeutics to the “net-addiction” are narrated perfectly. The controversial electrotherapeutics was invented by a Chinese psychiatrist and supported by some parents. This is a representative work of Remix by grass-roots Chinese netizens. And it is released with CC-By-NC-SA. Watch it at here (I do wish someone may add English subtitles to it).

 

This post is contributed by Mr. Xuhui Chen, a new co-author of BLawgDog and a patent lawyer in China. The essay provides the passing rates of each year’s examination and other detailed analysis.

 

In this issue edited by Luckie Hong, the following news are included: (1) two guys are prosecuted for oporating unauthorized online-game sever of “Audition Dance Battle Online”; (2) A Beijing court ruled that funshion.com infringed copyright by providing downloading; (3) The Measures of payment of the textbooks’ royalties and the Measure of Protection of the Folklores are drafting; (4) Sany group, a major construction machinery producer wins a litigation on its trademark against the figure of “Benz”; (5) Tianjin high technology industry park promulgated a regulation encouraging the endevor of establishing well-known brands; (6) The series cases on the trademark “世界风SHIJIEFENG” was settled by the parties; (7) XGK, a company in Henan province, wins a lawsuit against State Intellectual Property Bureau for its decision of invalitation of the ZL8910393.8 patent; (8) powerdekor, a mojor producer of wood flooring in China, was involved in a patent law suit on its laminate flooring product; (9) Shanghai encourages the application of foreign patent with the maximum of 90,000 RMB financial aid.

 

This post is originally written in English. Click here.

 

This post is translated and extended in English, please click here for the English version.

 

This is a copy of the CNNIC’s notice requesting ISPs stopping to resolve the domain name which are not recorded in Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s website registration/licensing system.

 

The Hong Kong government proposed a new version of the Proposals for Strengthening Copyright Protection in the Digital Environment. Xie Lin and Donnie co-authored this short post, which briefly introduced the content of the new proposals.

 

In this issue edited by Luckie Hong, the following news are included: (1) Google apologized openly for the first time in the copyright dispute between Google and Chinese authors; (2) A US software firm sues China for 2.2 billion dollars for using its copyrighted software in the Green Dam; (3) 50% increase of the copyright registration in China, 2009; (4) Hanwang, a Chinese company finally agree to sell the “iPhone” trademark to Apple; (5) Hengyuanxiang, a major Chinese woolen provider, was trapped in a trademark dispute on the “figure of a Sheep”; (6) the tademark of “Pierre Cardin” was finally selled to a Chinese company for 37 million euro; (7) A Fujian firm won IP lawsuit against FKK, a Japanese chemical giant; (8) A patent dispute about Mercury-free batteries falls into a vicious cycle; (9) RichtekTechnology, a Taiwan firm, sued AMD and other 5 US companies for patent infringement

 

 

 

 

In this issue edited by Luckie Hong, the following news are included: (1) Zhejiang Higher Court promulgated a guide for hearing the online copyright disputes; (2) A case on the popular book “Mawen’s War” was ruled in Nanjing; (3) The appealing case on the copyright of electronic navigation map in China (the first one in China) was ruled by Guangdong Higher Court; (4) the exposure draft of the new trademark law was submitted to the Legal Affairs Office of the State Council; (5) Google sent a lawyer’s letter to an individula who is raising an objection to the trademark of Google’s Chinese name Guge (谷歌); (6) Beijing No.1 Intermediate people’s Court affirmed the validity of Judger Group’s (a Zhejiang-based garment enterprise) trademark of GEORGE and its figures; (7) The “Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Patent Infringement Dispute Cases” was promulgated by the Supreme People’s Court; (8) the new IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS OF THE PATENT LAW OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA was passed by the State Council on 30 Dec. 2009; (9) Unilin loses its acts against patent infringing products of Yekalon in Germany.

 

This post firstly briefed Donnie’s definition of “Public Domain” in the context of Chinese copyright law in his PhD dissertation at China University of Political Science, then introduced the idea of “public domain day” on each January 1st for at this day, many works will fall into the public domain every year. Lastly, the post discussed some famous/interesting Chinese works that will be fall into the public domain since Jan. 1st, 2009.

 

In 2009, 170 entries are published at BLawgDog (including 38 English ones). Among them, Donnie contributed about 120 posts, other co-authors contributed about 40 ones. Then this article highlighted a few interesting posts during the year.

 

I annouced a very quick survey to Chinese twitter users: whether they are living abroad or inside of the GFW. 88.46% responed they stay in China. For the question “if you live inside of the GFW, are you use twitter frequently”, 70.21% said yes they are. For the question “if you live outside of the GFW, after going back to China, will you use twitter frequently”, 52.94% said yes, but 23.53% said he/she will use twitter only when she/he is out of GFW. For the question “Ask 5 of your QQ buddies randomly, how many of them are using twitter.” 53.85% of the respondent said none of their 5 QQ buddies is using twitter, and only 1.92% said all of the 5 QQ buddies are using twitter too.

 

Writen and edited by Luckie Hong, a co-author of BlawgDog, reporting the latest news in IP Law. This issue includes: (1) the promulgation of China’s new Tort Law, in which the ISP’s liability was eventually coded in a questionable way; (2) China association of literature copyright said Google has illegally scanned over 80,000 Chinese books; (3) Taiyuan intermediate peoples court in Shanxi Province issued a warrant of seizure to a karaoke bar for copyright infringement, which is the first time on mainland China; (4) the National Trademark Review and Adjudication Board petitioned to the Supreme Court for the Beijing Court’s rulling of its decision on the “Daohuaxiang” trademark; (5) the dispute of the trademark of *ST Sanlian (SH.600898) will be ruled soon; (6) JNJ (Johnson & Johnson) lost the case on the “Caile” trademark in China; (7) A Newyork listed Shenzhen company was sued for a patent infringement, the damages claimed by the plaintiff was 175 million RMB; (8) Aigo and Netac settled the patent dispute on USB flash drivers; (9) Up to 7 Dec. 2009, the annual number of patent granting is 3007,636.

 

This essay reviews the usage of the term “use” in China’s current Copyright Law, and find its definition is hightly confusional, which leads the uncertainty “individul use” in the list of limitations to the copyright in Art. 22 of the Copyright Law.

 

This post questioned the legitimacy of issuing a warrant of seizure to Karaoke bars for the reason of copyright infringement, which was happened in Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi Province.

Wanna setup a Personal Website in China? BEING TAKEN A Portrait Please.

 

According to a new regulatory document (in Chinese) announced by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, a personal website owner have to BE TAKEN a portrait when she/he is about to “register” the basic information of their websites. The title of the new regulation is: The Scheme of Further Commitment of the Verification to the Websites’ Registration Information (Trial Implementing Regulations) [CN: 工业和信息化部关于进一步落实网站备案信息真实性核验工作方案(试行)]

 

“Registration” is a premising procedure for setting up a website in China.  The information required in the registration includes the domain name, the IP address of the hosting server, the brief introduction of the website’s intended content, the owner/operator’s true name and Chinese citizen ID number, address and other contacts. Although the regulation uses the term of “registration” but not “license”, it is actually a compulsive requirement for any websites. Without registration and the final permission from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, a website will be deemed as an “illegal” one and be shut down (China does have an Administrative License Law restricting the governmental organizations from establishing the administrative licenses arbitrarily, but this law is obviously being ignored, again).

 

Anyway, before the new regulation, the whole procedure of registration can, at least, be accomplished online, despite it normally needs weeks, or even more than a month in some cases, to get the license.

 

Now you have to schedule a travel for such registration in accordance with the new regulation. It requires the owners of the personal websites providing their own portrait in the form of registration. To avoid the false portrait, the website owners must present by person with their personal identificatoin documents (like resident ID card, or passport for foreigners), and BEING TAKEN PORTRAIT in the photographic studio (with unified equipped backdrop providing by the MiiT) located at the IDC’s office.

 

Here is the new procedure of the website registration for individuals:

 

Webmasters log on the registration system of the MIIT, and input the information

–> The IDCs or the ISPs (hosting service provider) verify the information 

–> If the informaiton is true (deemed by the ISPs)

–> the ISP send the notice of spot verification

–> Webmaster go to the verification center with ID documents

–> If the informaiton is true (deemed by the IDCs)

–> The ISPs or IDCs input the information and upload the portrait to the system

–> the provincial communication administration examine the registration information

–> If the informaiton is true (deemed by the administration)

–> the registration information will be submitted to the MiiT’s system finally

–> the Webmasters will get the permission of establishing the website.

 

Besides this new procedure, the regulation requires IDCs draw a plan on re-examination of the existing websites (means the websites has been registered beforehand) … it does not said explicitly that the owners of the existing websites also need to BE TAKEN portraits at the IDC’s studio, but leaves such possibility in the wordings.

 

My comments … speechless, speechless, and …  speechless. It seems more and more difficult to write legal blog posts refrained from grumbling.

 

BTW, another news. China’s President Jintao Hu was found established a micro-blog at People’s Daily’s twitter-like service  t.people.com.cn) yesterday.  And that micro-blog was symboled with a “verified real person” badge, and a line of bio stating his current position as the Party Chief and the President of China.

 

Then, in a dozen of hours, that zero-posted micro-blog got 20,000 followers.  Then the server was denied visiting just like being DDOSed. Then the service provider closed “Hu’s” microblog, and confessed that it does not established by President Hu. It is actually an automatically created page for the verified users in the BBS service of the People’s Daily. Hu has (perhaps been) registered an ID with his real name when he showed up for his first online chatting with netizens in 2008.

 

I wrote in a Chinese post said this “accident” proves, again, that, even if we forget the freedom of expression but aiming at locating the wrong-doers, the real-name registration system will be useless in the circumstance of the rapid developing technology and the constantly changing personal situation nowadays. On the contrary, the case that even our President would BE ESTABLISHED a blog without his consent demonstrates clearly what we need to focus on is not the real-name registration law, but the law of personal data protection, no matter it is associated with a real name or a false one.  The law of real-name registration system is based on the presumption of mistrust, and will increase such mistrust among the stakeholders. The law of personal data protection is based on the presumption of trust, and will decrease the misturst eventually.

1266804778009 
President Hu’s “verified real-name” micro-blog (screenshot, the page no longer exist).

Orphan Works in the Context of Chinese Copyright Law

Orphan Works in the Context of Chinese Copyright Law:
A Comparative Research

DONG Hao

Abstract: “Orphan Works” means works whose copyright (if not expired) owners can hardly be located, hence the users may not exploit the works lawfully with the licenses issued by right owners. Discussions to this topic in the U.S. and Britain have been raised for years, and the Bills for orphan Works have been introduced to the U.S. congress several times. The dilemma of orphan works and abandon softwares also exists in the context of Chinese copyright system, and this phenomena may be more widespread because the history of Chinese copyright law in the recent 100 years are inconsistent, unsteady and intermittent. Furthermore, the current Chinese copyright system is of not mature enough. It not merely lacks solutions for  the orphan work problem, but also exists unreasonable provisions that may worsen it. Four factor should be considered when one is about to solve the problem: (1) comply with the three-step test; (2) based on existing legal system of the country; (3) minimize the cost of both right owners and users; (4) guarantee the predictability of the benifits and the obligations. Based on these four premises, this article critically reviewed the solutions in the U.S., Canada and Japan,  and then proposed a set of multi-method and integrated suggestion that suit to the features of Chinese copyright regime.

Keywords:
orphan Work, statutory license, compulsory license, authorship, public domain

The paper (in Chinese, 21,000 words) has been accomplished in Nov. 2006, and it is continuously updating before the formal publication. If you need it, please conatct the author (donnie [at] blawgdog.com)