Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht

Shaping Copyright Policies for Online Music Sector in China

The research project focusses on the evaluation of the current copyright policies in the online music sector in China. The evaluation will be based on the two complementary policies proposed by the author. These are policies on prohibition and policies on permission.

Last Update: 06.11.13

One important challenge for copyright policies in the online music market is how to make policies that can support the establishment of business models that can motivate the creators and performers to create and perform; give incentives for the internet service providers to innovate in technologies and business models and enable the public to get access to the music.

Against this background, this research will try to answer the following question of whether current copyright policies for online music are appropriate, effective and efficient to support the business models now and in the future in this sector?

The research begins with a brief introduction of the concept of copyright and, in particular, music copyright law in China (Chapter 1-2). In Chapter 1, it is mainly found that there is a trend of transition of copyright from an implanted concept to an internal concept. Accompanying this trend there is also a trend to increasingly positive attitudes of stake holders toward copyright. In Chapter 2, it is pointed out that certain demands from the point of view of the technology development are not met in current copyright legislation in China, such as regarding orphan works.

Then the thesis studies and researches the online music market in detail. The focus lies on business models and legal activities in this field. First, in Chapter 3, the development of the online music sector will be discussed. It is mainly found that the market originates from a market without copyright protection; then it evolved with the legal activities of interested parties and the legislatures of the governments. It has grown fast in the past decade. In Chapter 4, the potential business models will be discussed from the perspective of management of copyright. In the end, the work will propose three barriers to build business models in China: the complexity of copyright itself, copyright piracy and limited license options.

In the last two chapters, complementary policies will be proposed. On one hand, the enforcement measures (Policies on Prohibition) will be evaluated as to whether they can support the business models. On the other hand, the license mechanism and the registration system should be facilitated to make the participants actively comply with the laws to develop new business models. In Chapter 5, the thesis mainly proposes certain policies on prohibition, such as introducing a small claim panel, raising the damages, etc. The purpose is to eliminate piracy. In Chapter 6, it will propose a system of online registration and a system of collective licenses or other alternative models to facilitate the license.


Doctoral Student

Kan He


Prof. Dr. Josef Drexl

Doctoral Supervisor

Adj. Professor Dr. Silke von Lewinski

Main Areas of Research