Measures recommended to protect internet literature
Yang Meng

More and more excellent internet literature has been turned into popular TV series in China. But this development has been marked by rampant piracy and often unclear copyright ownership.

During this year's Two Sessions, representatives suggested that a standard contract be introduced to combat piracy.

Introducing standard contract to specify copyright

According to the 45th statistical report on internet development in China released recently, the number of users of online literature in China had reached 455 million by March 2020, an increase of 23.37 million from the end of 2018 and accounting for 50.4 percent of the internet population. 

With the rapid growth of internet literature, disputes have arisen between authors of online literature and film companies and publishing platforms.  

Some insiders believe that an important reason is the unclearness of contractual obligations.

CPPCC member Jiang Shengnan recommended that copyright contracts are introduced as soon as possible and that other industry arrangements, such as housing sales and labor contracts, be used to protect the interests of all parties on a relatively equal footing. 

Three bodies should be involved in an internet literature work: relevant departments of government, platforms, and writers, Jiang said. 

"The introduction of a copyright standard contract is not only to protect the author but also more conducive to business development for the platform," she said. "The whole industry will be more healthy and develop in a more rapid way." 

Increasing penalties to jointly crackdown on online piracy

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

In addition to copyright dispute issues, for a long time, network literature has been plagued by "piracy."  

The overall piracy loss of online literature in China was estimated at 5.64 billion yuan (about 790 million U.S.dollars) in 2019, according to iResearch, a professional market research and consulting company. The loss scale of mobile terminal piracy alone was put at 3.93 billion yuan.

Cracking down on emerging online piracy has become an important prerequisite for the development of internet literature.

"We need to increase the intensity and frequency of anti-piracy efforts in accordance with the law to take targeted measures to crack down on and expose typical cases to make an example for others," suggested CPPCC member Chen Qirong.

According to the particularity and influence of internet literature, a national internet literature award can be set up to encourage network writers to create excellent works and guide readers to read them, Chen suggested.