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China Passes Internet Piracy Law

The Chinese government passed new laws this week to ban the ability to upload and download Internet material without the copyright holder's permission.

Officials in China say the decision aims to balance copyright owners' rights with those of Internet service providers (ISPs) and users who download content from the Web. The provisions pertain to text, video and audio. They include 27 articles that take effect on July 1, said intellectual property attorney Gang Bai on Friday.

Bai, who founded the Wan Hui Da IP Agency, one of China's largest law and IP firms, points to three main provisions: Extension of Copyright Protection offered to content owners, Notice and Delete, and narrowed responsibility of ISPs.

Under the Extension of Copyright Protection provision, corporations and individuals are "forbidden to delete or modify the copyright owners’ digital information on their works without the right owners’ permission," Bai said. "The infringer will face a maximum fine of RMB 100,000 Yuan [$12,500] and confiscation of computer equipment."

China has laws that prohibit Internet piracy, DVD, video and counterfeit goods, but some believe the government hasn't put the resources into tracking down and prosecuting pirates.

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