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Commentary: Harsher punishment shows China's commitment to IPR protection, innovation

(Xinhua)    10:41, November 12, 2020

BEIJING, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- The latest amendment to China's Copyright Law, which was first enacted in 1991 and amended in 2001 and 2010, has demonstrated the country's determination to better protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and uphold innovation as it seeks modernization.

The revision, which was adopted by the country's top legislature on Wednesday and will come into force on June 1 next year, will strengthen the protection of the copyright holders by raising the ceiling of statutory damages from 500,000 yuan (around 75,500 U.S. dollars) to 5 million yuan.

The drastically raised ceiling for statutory damages and the introduction of punitive damages have driven home a clear message -- China is strengthening its copyright protection by ensuring the cost of violating the law is much higher than its gains.

By forcing infringers to pay a much heavier price, the legal move is expected to nurture a more protective and encouraging environment for innovation, which has been regarded as key to China's greater economic success and was underlined in its economic and social development blueprint for the coming years.

It was not the first time that the world's largest developing economy introduced harsh punishment in its laws to protect the entitlements of IPR holders. Punitive damages have been added into Chinese laws such as the Trademark Law and the Patent Law over recent years to help the country transform itself from a "factory of the world" to a "factory of ideas and knowledge" by better protecting IPR and spurring creativity.

For a modernization-seeking China, copyright and IPR protection not only benefits innovators, but is also in the country's interest.

As Chinese firms eye faster global expansion and high-tech innovation at home, they have demanded more effective and relevant IPR legal protection that keeps pace with the times. Overseas investors eyeing the vast Chinese market also need assurance and protection against IPR infringement. The latest amendment to the Copyright Law heeds their demands and serves their needs.

Understanding the latest amendment will be conducive to understanding the substantial changes an increasingly innovative China has made in IPR protection.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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