Copyright and the Public Interest in China

Copyright and the Public Interest in China

Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series

Guan H. Tang

Guan Hong Tang expertly highlights how the multidimensional concept of public interest has influenced the development and limitations of Chinese copyright. Since 1990 China has awarded copyright – individual rights – but also provides for public, non-criminal enforcement. The author reveals that pressures of development, globalisation and participation in a world economy have hastened the loss of public interest from copyright. However, for a socialist country, placing the common ahead of the individual interest, the public interest also constitutes a phenomenological tool with which to limit copyright. The author also discusses how the rise of the Internet, which has had a major social and economic impact on China, raises problems for Chinese copyright law. Comparing Chinese copyright law with the USA and the UK, topical issues are presented in this unique book including those arising within education, library and archives sectors.

Chapter 1: The Opening Up to the World of a Once Isolated Nation

Guan H. Tang

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, development studies, law and development, law - academic, asian law, comparative law, information and media law, intellectual property law, international investment law, law and development


INTRODUCTION With its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China officially entered the global economy. As one of the world’s fastestgrowing economies and the world’s second-largest economy by 2010,1 China’s domestic reform, its efforts of opening up to the international community and of moving from a governmental-controlled, planned economy to a market economy within the socialist setting, has focused the world’s attention. The entry to the WTO, on the one hand, has stimulated the implementation of the rule of law in China as transparency and accessibility are mandatory; and on the other hand, has created numerous opportunities and challenges for China, a country with a huge population, a poor economic foundation and a long and isolated history, which holds a diverse tradition towards creation and intellectual work, as well as laws in general. Whilst the opportunities exist for an increasingly unlocked and enhanced environment for trade, investment, production, technology and innovation, the challenges arise primarily from transformation of the traditional conception of the public interest, and establishing an effective and of international standard legal and administrative system, stopping acts of copyright infringement across the country. Meanwhile, China has experienced the rise of the Internet, which started later in the country compared with the West but has caught up rather quickly and become a main channel for people keeping in touch with the world. Although there is clearly a gap between China and the West over the understanding of different aspects of the Chinese Internet, including the...

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