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Leshi Takes On Xiaomi – the Wrestle Against Online Piracy
2014-07-20 17:14:00   Source:   Hit:

The new masterpiece by Chinese famous film director Zhang Yimou named “Coming Home” is now in theaters. Good news it is for Zhang’s fans and movie buffs at large, this has also drawn some negative feelings – not against Zhang, but towards the alleged copyright infringers. At present, the sole broadcasting right holder of the film, Leshi Internet Information & Technology (Beijing) Co has initiated infringement proceeding against Xiaomi which they accuse of online piracy.

According to Leshi Co, they have obtained evidence in the form of notarized screenshots exhibiting Xiaomi’s unauthorized broadcasting. Xiaomi on the other hand denied the copyright infringement accusation and claimed that they have obtained prior authorization for all the films from CNTV.

It has been reported on the myriad of blatant copyright-infringing acts concerning the film, which were atypically done through unauthorized broadcasting on Chinese video websites. A number of large and small Chinese website owners and set-top box (STB) providers are allegedly involved in unauthorized broadcasting, and this includes also reputable ones such as Xiaomi.

Since China’s accession to the TRIPS lots have been done to enhance protection in IPRs, this includes strengthened statutes and regulations. In 2011 a provision was implemented to impose criminal liability on copyright infringers who profited more than RMB50,000 from their wrongful acts. While such legislations may serve substantive deterrence against IP infringement, in practice its effectiveness is still debatable. Real life problems, such as too high a cost of enforcement and litigation coupled with the award of miniscule and disproportionate damages still pose a stumbling block to improved effectiveness in combating piracy. It can be extremely challenging in juggling the three balls at the same time – winning the litigation, obtaining a satisfactory level of damages and continuous monitoring of infringers to deter repeated infringement. Therefore, engaging a team of professional IP lawyers is vital for IPR owners.

This case is currently being fought in the courts, and it may well turn out to be a symbolic case in the Chinese IP legal practice. Beshining shall keep you posted on the updates.