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Major Laws and Regulations Relating to Audio-visual Products in China
2004/06/09


With the objective to protect the legal rights and interests of intellectual property rights holders, and to promote the healthy development of audio-visual business, the People’s Republic of China has enforced a series of laws, regulations and department rules as follows:

1986  The General Principles of the Civil Law adopted by the People’s Congress affirmed the rights of authorship for citizens and legal persons;

June 1991  The Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China was officially put into force. It was revised in October 2001;

September 1992  Provisions on the Implementation of the International Copyright Treaties was issued by the State Council;

July 1994  Resolution of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Punishing the Crimes of Copyright Infringement was issued;

August 1994  Regulations on the Administration of Audio-visual Products, China’s specialized statute on the administration of audio-visual business, was issued by the State Council. It was revised in December 2001.

July 1995  Regulations of the People's Republic of China Governing the Customs Protection of Intellectual Property Rights was issued by the State Council;

1997  Amendments to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China passed by the National People’s Congress included provisions on “crimes of infringing intellectual property”;

December 1998  Interpretations of Several Issues Concerning Specific Application of the Law in the Trail of Criminal Cases of Illegal Publications issued by the Supreme People’s Court;

The above laws and regulations constitute China’s basic domestic legislative framework for the management and administration of audio-visual products. Since 1992, China has successively joined the Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Universal Copyright Convention and the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms. In addition, China has signed agreements with over 100 countries on the protection of intellectual property rights. All these steps signify the establishment of a full-fledged intellectual property protection system in China.

In accordance with the above-mentioned laws and regulations, relevant governmental authorities have also issued series of department rules, laying out specified details for the application of certain statutes:

May 1991  Regulations for the Implementation of the Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China was issued by the State Copyright Administration;

September 1995  Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights by the Customs of the People’s Republic of China was issued by the State Administration of Customs;

January 1996  Measures Governing the Wholesale, Retail, Rental and Broadcast of Audio-visual Products was issued by the Ministry of Culture. It was renewed into Measures Governing the Wholesale, Retail and Rental of Audio-visual Products in March 2002;

January 1997  Implementing Measures on the Administrative Punishment of Copyright Infringements was issued by the State Copyright Administration;

1999  Measures Governing the Administration of Audio-visual Products Import was issued by the Ministry of Culture and the State Administration of Customs. It was revised in April 2002;

December 2001  Measures Governing the Administration of China-foreign Joint Enterprises in the Distribution of Audio-visual Products was issued by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation;

These department rules, covering various aspects of audio-visual business, have contributed to a full-scale administrative system concerning audio-visual products. They have provided the legal basis for the rectification as well as routine administration of China’s audio-visual product business and market.



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