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Unitalen Successfully Defended a Client in Criminal Private Prosecution Concerning Copyright Infringement


The private prosecutor,a cultural media company in Beijing, develops and operates a website of dance teaching and video sharing, and claims that they had signed contracts with certain dancers to obtain the exclusive information network communication right of certain dance videos. The defendant, an IT company in Suzhou, was claimed to be found broadcasting on their website over 1,500 of the private prosecutor’s works, and sued by the private prosecutor at Beijing Haidian District Court.

Entrusted by the defendant, Unitalen lawyers made a strong defense from the following perspectives:

1.There are many flaws in the content and the form of the authorization documents provided by the private prosecutor, and the chain of ownerships of the copyrighted works/video products provided is incomplete. Therefore, the evidence cannot prove the legitimate source of the private prosecutor’s claim of “exclusive information network communication right”.

2.As the private prosecutor failed to submit notarized proof of video comparison, the comparison was conducted only by the names of the videos and, as a result, less than 300 videos were found, which does not reach the threshold of “distributing a total of other party’s works for 500 pieces or more”. Besides, the defendant provides video sharing service and network storage space to the users, and only bears the responsibility of “deletion after notification” with regards of allegedly infringing content.

3.The private prosecutor cannot prove that the defendant has “profit-making purpose”, one of the prerequisites for constituting the crime of copyright infringement.

After hearing opinions of both sides, the court decided that the private prosecutor lacked evidence for its accusation, and made a judgement to dismiss the charge of the private prosecutor.