Protecting Copyright Online in China: Regulation of the Cloud

Creative Commons/Wikimedia Commons

Creative Commons/Wikimedia Commons

This is the third in our series on online copyright takedowns. In the first part, we provided a general summary of the regulations that establish the takedown procedures. These regulations enable enforcement of the “right of communication through an information network” as it applies to sound recordings and audiovisual recordings. In the second, we looked at how providers of storage space face more liabilities than those merely providing searching or linking services. In this third post we look at how the takedown regulations apply to cloud service providers.

In a recent circular, the National Copyright Administration of China made it clear that the notice and takedown regime applies to cloud service providers. They must publish the notice and takedown procedure in an obvious place on their homepages. They must process notices and complaints in a timely manner and, moreover, must remove infringing materials, and delete or disconnect infringing links, within 24 hours of receiving the notice or complaint.

Here is a quick summary of the key provisions of the circular:

  • Cloud storage providers must prohibit the upload or storage of the following works: (1) works that have been removed in accordance with the intellectual property right (IPR) owner’s notices; (2) works for which the IPR owners have made their right ownership announcements or statements available to the cloud service providers; and (3) works under heightened protection that are published by the relevant copyright authorities.
  • Cloud storage providers must prohibit the upload or storage the following works without authorization: (1) works that are currently being broadcast or televised or that are “hot selling”; (2) works published or produced by professional publishing, film, television or music institutions; or (3) other works that are “obviously” without authorization.
  • Cloud storage providers must strengthen their monitoring of the activities of users by requiring users to explain any suspect activities, such as abnormal logins or data fluctuations.
  • Cloud storage providers are prohibited from editing, recommending, or changing the uploaded or stored works in any way, or inducing or encouraging users to share works without authorization or facilitating unauthorized sharing in any way.
  • Cloud storage providers must maintain users’ registration information and comply with official requests to provide information such as works that were uploaded, shared, or stored by users, URLs, or domain names.
  • Cloud storage providers must establish a mechanism for punishing repeat offenders, such as blacklists, suspensions, or the termination of services.

In our next post in this series we will look at the practicalities of having audiovisual recordings and sound recordings taken down according to the Chinese notice and takedown regulations.

—A version of this article was first published on the China Law Blog.