2015 Chinese Entertainment Law Year Review: Is It Converging with the U.S. Practice?
40 Pages Posted: 8 May 2016 Last revised: 22 Feb 2017
Date Written: January 7, 2016
The year of 2015 was a successful year for Chinese film industry. It was also a monumental year for the development of Chinese entertainment law. During the past year, we witnessed a substantial increase of cases before the Chinese courts that are of interest to the entertainment industry, including the substantial similarity test in copyright infringement analysis, protection of movie titles and story characters through trademark and anti-unfair competition law, protection of private rights to privacy and reputation, and the treatment of freedom of speech and the public’s right to information. Many of the courts’ rulings and reasoning began to show characteristics that converge with the U.S. entertainment law practice, and as such, these cases may have far-reaching implications in the future progress of China’s entertainment industry.
This paper discusses the trends and implications of Chinese entertainment law between 2014-15, with focuses on copyright law, trademark law, anti-unfair competition law and defamation. Each case starts with a brief summary of facts and legal reasoning, then followed by a comparison with its U.S. counterpart in the U.S. entertainment case law. Here, I show a notable trend in Chinese entertainment law — the surprising convergence of its legal reasoning with that of the long-established U.S. case law and practice, albeit with certain exceptions. In the end, the paper proposes that the continued cooperation between Chinese film industry and Hollywood is expected to create more convergence not only in the industry practices but also in the legal practices, thus have significant implications to the development of Chinese jurisprudence in the long run.
Keywords: Chinese entertainment law, Chinese film industry, copyright, movie title protection, character rights, privacy, defamation
JEL Classification: K33, L82, N40
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