The Global Battle Over Copyright Reform: Developing the Rule of Law in the Chinese Business Context
41 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 1, 2017
Nations and businesses around the globe have been battling over copyright protection laws, with industrialized nations pressuring developing nations to adopt “Western-style” copyright regimes. These battles are escalating as copyright piracy grows, while developing nations struggle to formulate reforms that will protect their own intellectual property as well as that of industrialized nations.
China is at the cutting edge of these debates. Over the last several years, and most recently in 2015, China has released transformative new proposals to reform its copyright laws. This Article—believed to be the first scholarly comparative analysis of China’s reforms—critiques China’s new proposals.
More broadly, this Article examines China’s copyright reforms as a case study of the issues involved in developing the rule of law in emerging economies. This Article argues that Western governments and businesses have been misguided in pressuring China to adopt or transplant Western-style copyright laws. Instead, this Article argues that, for China to create a more effective system of copyright protections, China should adopt a more rules-based approach similar to the copyright regimes of Japan and Taiwan. Drawing on comparative law theory and on an analysis of rules-based versus standards-based approaches to legal development and copyright law, this Article analyzes how China can effectively reform its copyright system and enhance public awareness of copyright norms and their functions.
To support this argument, this Article conducts a comparative analysis of copyright regimes in the United States, Japan, and Taiwan. In doing so, this Article seeks to demonstrate that Western approaches to copyright protection are not one-size-fits-all solutions, but rather that reformers drawing upon legal transplants must take into account the particular legal, cultural, and societal milieus within which copyright rules are implemented. More generally, this Article seeks to contribute to the debate on how developing countries can build legal regimes that can protect their own interests, as well as those of more politically or economically powerful nations, while enhancing the rule of law.
Keywords: China, Copyright, Law Reform, Comparative Law, International Law, Intellectual Property, International Business Transactions, Private Law, Piracy, Software, Computer, Development, Asia, United States, Japan, Taiwan, legal transplant, international law, rule of law
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