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Beijing Internet Court holds a live IPR case trial

english.bjinternetcourt.gov.cn | Updated: 2020-04-27


The Beijing Internet Court held a live trialon April 24 for disputes over copyright infringement between family members of San Mao, a well-known Chinese writer originally named Chen Ping who died in 1991, and three companies producing the second episode of Letter Alive, a popular TV show in China.

Three siblings of San Mao sued the three companies for copyright infringement as the show included reading of a letter written by their father to San Mao without their permission.

The plaintiffs said that the letter's copyright has belonged to them after San Mao and their father died and that the letter is still under copyright protection.

They asked the defendants to post a public apology letter and a compensation for economic losses, mental stress and reasonable expenses totaling more than 110,000 yuan($15,587.8).

The case was heard online by a collegiate panel with Zhang Qian, judge of Case-filling Division of the court, presiding.

In hearing the parties' evidence and arguments the collegiate panel focused on whether the three defendants infringed on the rights of revision, reproduction and public performance, or the right to communicate works to the public over information networks; whether the activities of the defendants were fair use; whether the defendants are the proper parties to be subject to liability; and whether the civil responsibilities asked by the plaintiffs are allowable in law. 

Fourteen deputies to Beijing Municipal People's Congress were in the court and they said that the live trial would raise the public's awareness of intellectual property protection. Over 50 media and platforms participated in this live streaming, which has attracted over 17 million watched online. 

"Experts were invited to the live trial to make comments which improved the public's understanding of the case and enriched their knowledge of IPR. This is a good method and deserves to be used widely,” said Ren Zhihui, one of the deputies.

The case is still under trial.