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2020-06-30 09:10:41

A Beijing court has slapped video-streaming platform Bilibili with a 60,000 yuan ($8,500) fine for failing to remove user-uploaded audio from a popular Chinese movie.

In a verdict announced Monday, the Beijing Internet Court ruled against Shanghai Kuanyu Digital Technology Co. Ltd., the company that operates Bilibili, for disseminating content from the hit film “Dying to Survive.” Alibaba-owned video-sharing platform Youku, which holds the digital rights to the movie, had sued Bilibili for infringing intellectual property rights.

“The audio embodies the original creativity of the movie,” the verdict said. “The defendant failed to exercise its duty in regulating and suspending the dissemination of unauthorized work.”

One of 2018’s biggest hits, “Dying to Survive” tells the story of a Chinese man smuggling cheap but unapproved drug treatments from India. The film took in 3.1 billion yuan at the domestic box office and inspired wide discussion about China’s overburdened health care system.

Xu Xinming, an intellectual property lawyer at Beijing Mingtai Law Firm, told Sixth Tone that audio, as an integral component of a movie, is protected under Chinese copyright law. He added that video platforms should closely monitor such violations, considering the popularity of movies like “Dying to Survive.”

“The uploaded material contained the (entire) movie, and was top-ranked in the site’s search result,” Xu said. “It’s fair to assume the defendant was aware that its user was violating the law.”

Online, many have called for fair, consistent enforcement of the copyright law, so that small-time content creators receive the same protections as large corporations like Alibaba.

“I hope vloggers can receive similar intellectual property protections,” one user commented under a related media post on microblogging site Weibo. “Their videos are often uploaded to other streaming websites without approval from the original creators.”

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: An exterior view of Bilibili’s office in Shanghai, May 15, 2020. People Visual)