Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Slow As A Turtle? Copyright Protection Expiration in China: Lifetime Plus Fifty

IP Dragon's feline friend has an interesting post December 31, 2008, about the expired protection of copyrights for authors that died seventy years ago, including the painter Wang Zhen (1867-1938), read Mr Jeremy Phillips' article for IP Kat here.

According to article 20 Copyright Law PR of China the rights of authorship, alteration and integrity of an author shall be unlimited in time. Then again, the term of protection for the right of publication and rights referred to in article 10 (5) Copyright Law PR of China (the right of showing, that is, the right to show to the public a work, of fine art, photography, cinematography and any work created by analogous methods of film production through film projectors, over-head projectors or any other technical devices) and 10 (17) Copyright Law PR of China (any other rights a copyright owner is entitled to enjoy) was already expired after the lifetime of the author and fifty years, according article 21 Copyright Law PR of China.

If Wang Zhen's paintings are in a country with a copyright protection of the lifetime of the author plus seventy years, and if this country is a member of the Berne Convention, it has to comply to the national treatment requirement (article 5(1) Berne Convention), which means that this member state has to treat the nationals of every other member state at least as favourably as its own. Article 7 Berne Convention and article 12 TRIPs, however, obligate their respective member states to protect copyright for fifty years. The People's Republic of China acceded to the Berne Convention in 1992 and TRIPs in 2001.

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