Most recent post in Intellectual Property

Copyright Society to reprint out-of-print texts

JDM110309cwwcs.png

Orphaned academic works will be reprinted in small quantities under a partnership launched by the China Written Works Copyright Society on February 24.

As announced by a small item in the February 28 edition of the China Press and Publishing Journal, the Society, the China Printing Group Corporation Digital Printing Company, and the Beijing Hanwen Diancang Culture Company signed a licensing agreement to bring limited-edition reproductions of out-of-print academic books to university libraries.

Covered by the agreement are “out of print books possessing research, reference, or collectible value,” primarily in the humanities, and originally published between 1949 and 2005. The rationale: “Reportedly, more than half of the books published in China every year, specialty academic books for niche audiences in particular, circulate only briefly before going out of print.” Additionally, university libraries have significant gaps in their collections “for various reasons,” and this project would help fill those gaps.

“The Copyright Society will utilize its advantageous position to obtain the permission of the works’ copyright holders, the China Printing Group will provide the project with printing support, and the Beijing Hanwen Diancang Culture Company will be responsible for handling orders from universities. The three parties said that they would endeavor to comply with copyright laws and regulations and would explore avenues through which a large quantity of out-of-print academic books could be provided as needed on a print-on-demand basis.”

Zhang Hongbo, a deputy director-general of the Copyright Society (中国文字著作权协会), said that the Society’s role would be to remit royalties to copyright holders and to keep reprint numbers “under 200 copies per title,” according to the China Culture Daily, which ran its own report the following day.

The articles went largely unnoticed upon publication (who reads CP&PJ, anyway?), but microbloggers picked it up a day or two ago and began debating whether the Copyright Society had the authority to reprint old texts.

University libraries that do have rare titles in their collections will run off photocopies for a fee, and a number of private companies do a thriving trade in copied editions of out-of-print titles, selling their wares through used book forums like Kongfz. However, the prospect of a large-scale copying effort spearheaded by an organization supposedly devoted to protecting the interests of copyright holders made some publishers uneasy.

Shi Hongjun of the Century Publishing Group posted updates to his microblog that accused the Society of overstepping its authority and raised questions about the legitimacy of their plan under China’s current regulatory environment:

2011.03.07, 09:17: Can academic texts be copied at will without the publisher being informed? According to the first page of the February 28 edition of China Press and Publishing Journal, the China Written Works Copyright Society, a printing agency, and a private bookseller will copy a large quantity of out-of-print academic texts from 1949 through 2005. Why does it seem like they’re shutting out social science publishers? Isn’t this sort of book printing, without publisher participation, illegal? I solicit your opinions...

2011.03.07, 23:49: Since you’ve taken so many things for granted, it looks as though I’ve got to put out some common sense. The copyright for a printed book is a complex thing. Although the publisher may no longer possess the exclusive right of publication, it may still retain the following copyrights: cover design, interior design, textual edits, and illustration edits. If you eliminate the publisher and simply photocopy the book, you’ve got big problems. This is an entirely separate issue than the scheduled reversion of rights.

2011.03.07, 23:54: Additionally, according to publishing norms, to improve quality and timeliness, publishers are required to re-submit a book for review when it is reprinted. The publishing agency I work for has always worked in this way. When you copy these books, who will assume responsibility for the re-approval work that ought to be undertaken by the publisher?

Shi’s comments prompted The Beijing News to run a report on the situation that quoted him further:

The main problem is that the Copyright Society ought to serve its members. If it engages in this, it shouldn’t route around the publishers and enter into a for-profit commercial partnership. First, it ought to solicit publishers’ opinions and see whether they will re-issue those books. If they will not, then the Copyright Society can consider other areas. Otherwise, what happens if you just photocopy a book at will? Everyone knows that library book sourcing is chaos.

Zhang Hongbo told the newspaper that Shi’s objections were based on a misunderstanding of the partnership. Copyright law would be observed by first asking for permission before going ahead with any reproductions. Design and other copyrights expire after ten years, so the complicated copyright situation would only exist for works published between 2000 and 2005, for which a list of titles has yet to be drawn up.

Finally, he explained that the money involved was minimal: several dozen copies of each title, with the Society taking between 10 and 20 percent, so “it’s basically for public service.”

Last year, when the Copyright Society went up against Google over the Internet giant’s book digitization program, Zhang was frequently quoted in the Chinese press defending authors’ rights. Although Google Books is not mentioned in any of the reports on the current partnership, by stressing their intent to consult copyright holders beforehand, Zhang distinguishes his operation from Google’s “scan first and compensate later” approach.

Links and Sources
 
More posts in Intellectual Property
Royalty fee for a Chinese tweet: 25 yuan
Taxi vs Taxi
Who holds the rights to an ancient character?
A crowd-sourced translation of The Lost Symbol: is this copyright infringement?
CCTV.com plagiarism
Government aviation website rips off blog
Johnny Walker beats Black Label knock-off
Kong Yiji and the question of software piracy
Li Ning lights China's Olympic flame
Johnnie Worker and his red labial
Rift in Sino-US intellectual property dialogue blamed on WTO case
Is ad-blocking illegal? Coral QQ author arrested
Cory Doctorow speaking at the Beijing Bookworm
WTO suit brews; China establishes patent centers
US vs. China: pointless IPR-related WTO suit drags on
New adventures in book piracy
Limited IPR relief for Nike, Adidas and Hollywood studios
Google (China) vs. Beijing Guge
China, US getting nowhere fast in the WTO
Baidu in the music business?
Sanmao goes overseas
China's unfavorable copyright imbalance
Copyright protection for online content
Disney Step Aside, Shijingshan Amusement Park Rules!
Software piracy plummets to inconceivably low rate
GAPP newspaper pirates blogger
Michael Scofield to come to China
Who owns the copyright to forum posts?
Chicken parody case goes to court
Fake Louis Cha unrepentant, asks for editing help
Blame Canada!
CNboo spam
Does copyright law hinder innovation?
Prostitutes and language mavens
Viacom vs Youtube: good for the small guys?
From Hollywood to Haute Couture
by Michael Rank
Oscar season means good pirate DVDs
Silk Street divides and conquers foreign brands
Falling down on the job
Republishing: protected by Chinese law?
Curse of the Golden Flower not violating copyright!
Nike and Beckham pirate trademark applications
by Michael Rank
Tianya blogger hunts down reprint payments from newspapers
Insulting the Monkey King
Nobel translators who don't translate, and readers who don't read
Bootleg faith
Beijing Shorts: Carrefour, IKEA, and the Baidu Economy
Poets and pig-feed
Karaoke fees and interest rates
Net activism against hunting endangered animals and Dell
The benefits of piracy
by Kaiser Kuo
Aping the Da Vinci Code
Media Schizophrenia in China
by David Moser
Rabies, condoms and bunkers: July 31 China media roundup
Crazy Stone and piracy
Jissbon condoms' dodgy logo
Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
Plagiarism, apologies, and circulation numbers
China Daily website follies
Viagra patent regains official protection in China
Democracy in America, and intellectual imperialism
10 years in jail for fake Viagra man
Dodgy trademark applications
Bilingual brands: Love in the time of IKEA
Wait, what's the name of this magazine again?
The Economist City Guide and Beijing Taxi Fares
Foreign involvement in Chinese media: that's magazines trademark court case
"Prada and Chanel win landmark court case", get nothing
Business in China 101: Baidu + Google = Baigoo
China: New campaign to combat illegal “cultural” goods
Protecting Shanghai's reputation
Time magazine: IPR in China
Taunting by Trademark
China Daily rips off USA Today, censor does not read carefully
AP reporters get ripped off by pirate DVD vendors
Xinhua to be fined ¥30,000?
"Tibet" in trademark suit
Gmail with Chinese characteristics
Daewoo sues Chery for an indemnity of RMB 80 million
The questionable legality of a Mao impersonator
Americans to be jailed in Shanghai for DVD piracy
Importing Inspiration: Plagiarism in Pop Music
Gome, sweet Gome
Dance Copyrights Infringed
The China Daily worries about piracy, does not look in mirror
Danwei becomes a source of news for Xinhua
"I am famous, everyone knows me, but I have no money!"
Ba'ath slippers
Time Inc. doing the rounds in China
State-owned babe watch; Xinhua rips off FHM
Wenzhou man tries to register 'Saddam' name and image as trademark
Fake Armani store
BQ: the new IPR friendly Beijing Youth Weekly
Book pirates fined
Nice noises about IPR
Pirate Sprite
Nike in trouble again
Chinese Chery cars to be sold in the US?
A Versace shirt for 29 yuan?
Microsoft tells me to buy pirate Office
What does this woman want?
Pirate HDVD
Best selling teen author convicted of plagiarism
Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang sues Jingpin Gouwu weekly newspaper for IPR infringement
Dowloading communism
China Daily plagiarizes from New York Times
Gccle is not Google. Lame!
Internet copyright standards for China
Pirates and porno
iPirate iPizza
CCTV in court for alleged copyright violation
China Business News launched
Jissbon condoms, James Bond and Durex
Mao and the Three Stooges by David Moser
Guardian article plagiarized by Shenzhen Daily plagiarized by Xinhua
Vics pirates Centro ad
China Daily steals from Lonely Planet
VICUTU vs. VERSACE
Dongfang Zaobao's exclusive interview, plagiarized from Interfax
Pirate Craigslist
Iced tea clones
The Three Stooges in China
Record companies go after karaoke bars
AK47 intellectual property blues
Postmodern Town rips off Keith Haring
Talking about someone else's generation
Free Viagra
China Daily: the cut and paste website
Apple's latest product: iGum
"We love the new and loathe the old."
Nice work if you can get it
Laoshan Cola says it is the real thing
Wrigley's and Goldfinger
Laoshan Cola: it ain't the real thing
China Daily gives Danwei a welcome back present
Hisense rips off Intel
China Mobile piracy
Sport in the Northeast
"My job in China is to kick Google's ass"
Interactive ripoffs
Days Inn pirates their own logo
Scylla and Charybdis in the Beijing subway
China Radio International plagiarizes Shanghai Eye article
China Daily and Xinhua piracy
President Bush brand diapers
Ripping off Starbucks' Chinese name
Foreskin issues; Microsoft IE logo piracy
China Daily Napster machine
Mu Zi Mei rat poison
Xinhua piracy
Trademark, patent, copyright, intellectual property, whatever
China Daily piracy
Napsterized
Crocodile war
America's top tech and media CEOs endorse Beijing Image Luxury Apartments
Bill Clinton endorses Budweiser condos
In defence of piracy
Court says blatant ripoff is not a ripoff
Bill Clinton endorses...
Impaled
A familiar looking website
Sohu cares about copyright?
'Ello 'ello 'ello
Absolut Piracy
Sex and the City of Beijing
Kill Bill pirate release
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
laomo2010x80.jpg
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives