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Mixed reactions for proposed copyright law


08:40, August 21, 2012

A second draft of China's copyright law released to the public last month proposes that multiple creative talents who contribute to films, such as directors, composers, musical performers, and screenwriters receive royalties for their work.

Under current copyright law, the copyright of a film and other kinds of productions produced in a similar way, such as TV shows, belong exclusively to the producer. Artists, writers, and directors are entitled to be mentioned in the film's credits and are paid according to their contract with producers. The new law, if approved, would allow multiple contributors to be credited as "creators," entitling them to a share of the copyright and the right to royalties each time the film or show is shown in theaters or on TV.

"The original writer, screenwriter, director, lyricist and composer have the right to collect reasonable royalties," the draft states, adding that "the main performer(s) have the right to collect reasonable royalties when their audio/video production is used by others."

However, the proposed law could prove arduous in terms of gaining approval for screenings, legal experts say. The naming of multiple artists who share the copyright could create headaches for producers and distributors, since the permission and payment of all creators would be required to show a film or broadcast a show. If one of the co-creators doesn't agree to a showing, nothing can be done.

The draft has been hotly contested by various players in the entertainment industry since its release on July 6 to obtain public feedback. As of Aug. 1, the terms of the draft are still being debated.

While the draft was welcomed by Chinese screenwriters, directors, screenwriters and other creative professionals, it was strongly opposed by producers, film executives, and investors, the Legal Evening News reported.

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