Academic journal article Harvard Journal of Law & Technology

Copyright Extremophiles: Do Creative Industries Thrive or Just Survive in China's High-Piracy Environment?

Academic journal article Harvard Journal of Law & Technology

Copyright Extremophiles: Do Creative Industries Thrive or Just Survive in China's High-Piracy Environment?

Article excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION II. COPYRIGHT PIRACY IN CHINA   A. Copyright Enforcement: Legal Framework and     International Pressure   B. Factors Contributing to China's High-Piracy     Environment III. THE CHINESE FILM AND MUSIC INDUSTRY ECOSYSTEM: EXCLUSION ECONOMICS, CENSORSHIP, AND PROTECTIONISM   A. Introduction   B. China's Film Industry     1. Exclusion Economics       a. The Box Office Boom       b. The Growth of Internet Video     2. Censorship and Economic Protectionism       a. Production and Market Access Restrictions       b. Content Restrictions       c. Censorship and Internet Video   C. China's Music Industry     1. The Failure of Exclusion Economics       a. Search Engines and Unauthorized Music         Downloads       b. Alternative Revenue Streams: Live Performance and         Corporate Sponsorship       c. Mobile Music: Opportunity and Exploitation     2. Censorship in China's Music Industry IV. CHINA: A CHALLENGE TO TRADITIONAL ASSUMPTIONS   ABOUT COPYRIGHT?     A. Theme #1: "Piracy Has Not Harmed the Chinese       Creative Industries, Because Production Continues       Apace and Is Even Growing."     B. Theme #2: "Piracy Benefits Creators and Consumers by       Lowering Access Barriers to a Wide Variety of       Information Goods."     C. Theme #3: "Piracy Incentivizes Copyright Owners To       Adopt Innovative Business Models."     D. Theme #4: "Piracy Is Especially Important for Political       Discourse in China Because It Helps Information       Goods Circumvent Heavy-Handed State Censorship       Policies."     E. Theme #5: "Piracy Benefits Foreign Rights Holders in       China by Providing Free Advertising and Branding for       Their Works."     F. Theme #6: "Foreign Dominance Poses a Greater Threat       to China's Cultural Industries than Piracy Does." V. DOES PIRACY HELP OR HINDER CHINA'S FILM AND MUSIC   INDUSTRIES?     A. Responding to Theme #1: "Piracy Has Not Harmed the       Chinese Creative Industries, Because Production       Continues Apace and Is Even Growing."       1. The Importance of Supporting a Professional Class of         Content Creators?       2. The Importance of Revenue Stream Diversity         a. Reduced Revenue Stream Diversity Diminishes           Monetization Opportunities for Smaller and           Independent Producers         b. Reduced Revenue Stream Diversity Distorts Market           Signals Sent to Producers         c. Reduced Revenue Stream Diversity           Disproportionately Exposes Producers to the           Idiosyncrasies of Peculiar Markets and           Exploitation by Intermediaries     B. Responding to Theme #2: "Piracy Benefits Creators and       Consumers by Lowering Access Barriers to a Wide       Variety of Information Goods."       1. Legitimate Sources of Creative Works Are Readily         Available in China.       2. Piracy's Long-Term Harms to Creators Outweigh Its         Short-Term Benefits.     C. Responding to Theme #3: "Piracy Incentivizes       Copyright Owners To Adopt Innovative Business       Models."     D. Responding to Theme #4: "Piracy Is Especially       Important for Political Discourse in China Because It       Helps Information Goods Circumvent Heavy-Handed       State Censorship Policies."     E. Responding to Theme #5: "Piracy Benefits Foreign       Rights Holders in China by Providing Free Advertising       and Branding for Their Works."     F. Responding to Theme #6: "Foreign Dominance Poses a       Greater Threat to China's Cultural Industries than       Piracy Does." VI. IMPLICATIONS BEYOND CHINA VII. CONCLUSION 

I. INTRODUCTION

Does copyright piracy actually benefit creators and the creative industries in China? Recent scholarship and commentaries suggest that rampant piracy might result in no net social loss in China or might even produce net social benefits. (1) This tracks a broader trend in intellectual property ("IP") scholarship expressing skepticism about the benefits of exclusive IP rights and emphasizing the importance of public access to knowledge and the cumulative nature of creativity and innovation. …

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