Hollywood and Hong Kong film studios have long struggled to monetize their content in China. Though revenues from traditional movie theaters are growing rapidly, the real action may be found in the online market, where Chinese youth prefer to obtain their entertainment (i.e. film and television programming). How then can a content owner best take advantage of this rapid movement to online viewing in today’s China?
In recent years, search engine providers, P2P website or other Internet service providers are often challenged in the courts by content owners. While the legal actions brought by international record companies are constant headaches for major Chinese search engine providers, including Baidu, Yahoo and Sogou, international search engine giants like Google and YouTube have also been struggling to resolve various lawsuits internationally.
These cases raise the same issues for legislators and judges in all jurisdictions — how to evaluate the business models of Internet Service Providers or Online Service Providers ("ISPs" or "OSPs", collectively "ISPs") and the responsibilities and obligations for copyright protection of the ISPs?
In 2007, the US Ninth Circuit Court of the State of California rendered its judgment for Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC. The California Court granted CCBill LLC immunity under the Safe Harbor Principle on the ground that the notice for removal sent by Perfect 10, Inc. failed to provide sufficient information and could not be deemed as effective notice. The intention of the US Congress when adopting the Safe Harbor Principle was to ensure that liabilities are shared fairly between the parties by requiring the copyright owner to bear the burden of proving the existence of infringement. These safe harbor provisions are designed to shelter service providers from the infringing activities of their customers. The California Court’s decision has been interpreted by US legal professionals as another affirmation of the application of "Safe Harbor Principle" to ISPs.