Beijing Internet Court vice-president adjudicates, pronounces judgment on MCSC's claim against Douyu
The Beijing Internet Court pronounced judgment on the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC)'s claim against Wuhan Douyu Network Technology Co. The defendant was accused of infringing copyright.
The court ruled that Douyu must compensate MCSC for economic loss of 2,000 yuan ($298) and litigation expenses of 3,200 yuan. The case was solely tried by the Vice-President of the Beijing Internet Court, Li Jingwei. The trial was conducted through the court's e-litigation platform and attended online by both parties.
The judgment made it clear that in the livestream and rebroadcast videos on Douyu operated by the defendant, certain music works were played without the permission of the copyright owners, which constitutes a violation of the owners' right to disseminate their works to the public.
Under normal circumstances, if a network service provider only provides network services such as automatic access, automatic transmission, information storage, search, links, and file sharing technology, it is free of liability even when network users access those services to carry out infringing acts providing it had sent a deletion notice to them on receiving notice of the infringement. Douyu had sent such a notice.
However, the situation in the case was different. Although the anchors were the parties playing music works during live streamings, according to an agreement between Douyu and the anchors, Douyu acquired rights to the intellectual property benefits of any broadcasts but also agreed to bear liability for any copyright infringements and on that basis was found liable.
The rise and boom of live webcast platforms has brought about new prosperity based on internet culture. For these platforms and online anchors, the rising number of registered users and anchor fans on the platforms means an increase in their clicks and attention, which also means an increase in their profitability.
The judgment in this case emphasizes that adjudication of internet space transactions and interactive acts should be done under the principle of equitable rights and duties.
It also stressed that online webcast platforms must fully respect and protect existing intellectual property rights of other rights holders while benefiting from any operation.
MCSC said in the trial that the choosing of some representative songs in the litigation didn't mean that it only claimed financial compensation for these songs but hoped the litigation would prompt webcast platforms to consciously operate according to laws and settle the problem of illegal use of a massive number of music works.
The judgment in this case may also have achieved effective protection of the copyright of music works by recommending signing of a package of agreements between MCSC and online streaming platforms.
The whole hearing was livestreamed by a group of media platforms, such as btime.com, Jinri Toutiao, Yi Broadcast, iQiyi and Baidu, with online viewers exceeded 270,000.
In addition, Beijing Daily, gmw.cn, chinacourt.org, People's Court Daily, mzyfz.com, and other media also covered the trial.