The Long and Winding Road to Effective Copyright Protection in China

53 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2021 Last revised: 19 Apr 2022

See all articles by Peter K. Yu

Peter K. Yu

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: November 10, 2021


In November 2020, China adopted the Third Amendment to the Copyright Law, providing a major overhaul of its copyright regime. This amendment entered into effect on June 1, 2021. The last time the regime was completely revamped was in October 2001, when the Copyright Law was amended two months before China joined the World Trade Organization. While U.S. policymakers and industry groups have had mixed reactions to the recent amendment, the new law presents an opportunity to take stock of the progress China has made in the copyright reform process.

Written for the Symposium on "Hindsight Is 2020: A Look at Unresolved Issues in Music Copyright," this article begins by mapping the long and winding road to effective copyright protection in China, especially in relation to U.S. rights holders. It then focuses on the recent amendment, highlighting five sets of upgrades or changes while offering some overarching observations. The article concludes by identifying five road tips to help copyright holders accelerate the trip toward their destination of effective copyright protection.

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., The Long and Winding Road to Effective Copyright Protection in China (November 10, 2021). Pepperdine Law Review, Vol. 49, pp. 681-732, 2022, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-44, Available at SSRN:

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States


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