Tips for variety television shows on utilising the Copyright Law

By Wang Yadong and Lu Lei, Run Ming Law Office

In recent years, following the huge commercial success of such variety shows as Where Are We Going, Dad?, The Voice of China, etc., a number of copycat programmes have sprung up in their wake, bringing with them a gradual increase in related lawsuits and disputes. For the holders of the rights in variety shows, how to better use the Copyright Law to enforce intellectual property (IP) rights and protect their commercial interests has become a pressing issue.

Nature of variety shows

“Variety show” is not a legal term but an industry term, whose connotation and denotation are not very clear cut. Accordingly, carrying out research and analysis of legal protection and asserting that variety shows can or cannot, should or should not be afforded copyright protection on this basis is a bit too hasty, and is of little aid in erecting an effective framework for the IP protection of variety shows.

Accordingly, with respect to the Copyright Law, such shows should be brought into the current Copyright Law framework based on their form of expression and degree of originality, with their circumstances analysed specifically. Only in this way can it be determined whether the entirety of any one variety show, or parts of it, constitute a “work” under the Copyright Law, whether it can be afforded protection of the law, and the kind of protection that it can be afforded.

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Wang Yadong is the executive partner and Lu Lei is a partner at Run Ming Law Office

(Run Ming Law Office)

Suite 1804, NCI Tower

12A Jianguomenwai Avenue

Chaoyang District, Beijing 100022, China

Tel: +8610 65693511

Fax: +8610 65693512/13