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A Brief Analysis on Mobile Gaming Laws in China / 关于中国手机游戏业法律的浅析


Author: Ma Fei
Date: October 28, 2013

A Brief Analysis on Mobile Gaming Laws in China

Chinese mobile phone game industry has gradually developed from the initial non-network application into an online mobile game based digital industry. The process of such digital-based mobile games is through game developers’ independent planning. The original art, engine development and eventually sales have grown in diversity and sophistication. The sales of mobile games are usually downloaded via the mobile operator’s networking, for instance, WAP sites like Monternet. Centralized digital download services also exist, such as the App Store in an iphone to download the mobile games.
According to statistics, in the circulation of a mobile game in China, 80% are downloaded through the website; only 20% are downloaded from the normal fee channels. Although the networking way of download has been achieved, the technical aspects of the game itself are essentially different from web games. Technical limitations in this regard compared to web games are numerous. Mobile games need game developers to adapt different version of the game to different phone models and platforms. In order to ensure the gameplay, less capacity and less pictures might be required for diverse types of cellphones. This is why the development of mobile games is perhaps not as good and fast as web games, however, it also has made great progress in recent years.
Associated with these developments are the copyright protection and other issues with those network mobile games. Since it is a relatively emerging industry, there are limited domestic content legislations that are directly related. Although those that have been enacted in recent years have been designed to make every aspect of the operations of mobile games industry to be more standardized, Meanwhile, they make clear requirements of the protection of intellectual property rights.
When it comes to those issues related to the releasing of an online game for a mobile phone company, Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games can be served as a reference. It has been published by China’s Ministry of Culture, and serves as the first specialized sector regulation to manage and regulate online games. The formal implementation was from August 1, 2010, with a total of six chapters and thirty-nine articles.
In accordance with the General Provisions Article 2 of this regulation, online games are comprised of the software programs and information data, providing products and services through information networks such as the Internet and mobile communication network game. Those games released by today’s mobile gaming companies are basically in line with this definition, hence, mobile games are suitable for this regulation. Article 2 also provides the concept of online operations of online games, namely, the conduct of operations provides game products and services available to the public through information networks by using the user system or payment system. Before the release of a game, the mobile games company shall comply with the provisions of Chapter II of the introduction of the operating units and get the “Internet culture operation license”. Following conditions are needed in order to get this license: (a) the name, residence, organization and constitution; (b) determined scope of business of online games; (c) employees in line with national requirements; (d) not less than 10 million yuan registered capital; (e) conditions to comply with laws, administrative regulations and the relevant national provisions apply for the units of the “Internet culture operation license.” The government office directly responsible for overseeing this is the cultural administrative departments of the provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government.
The internet operation of mobile games should also refer to the provisions of Article 13 of this regulation—- within 30 days of the date of the Internet operation of Mobile games, companies should put on record to the cultural administrative departments of the State Council in accordance with the regulations filing procedures. Filed domestic online games should be prominently labeled with the record number, specified location within the game in its operating site.
Meanwhile, mobile games are protected objects according to the Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China, Computer Software Protection Ordinance Protection of Computer Software Regulations, as well as Registration of Computer Software Copyright Procedures. So as the game developers, in order to protect the copyright of a game, computer software copyright registration at National Copyright Administration is needed before the game is released.
In addition to the precautions beforehand, copyright registration piracy enforcement is also an important aspect of intellectual property protection in the mobile games industry. Like all intellectual property related industries in China, the Chinese mobile game industry piracy situation is very serious. Besides the main form of directly blatant piracy, there are pirated developers who directly use other people’s source code from the website, switch a set of pictures, and claim that a new mobile game has been developed.
Currently, the main way of mobile game software infringement is the website download has not been authorized by the copyright owner. The main ways to resolve those disputes are through negotiation, or litigations to sue those tort implementers. Strict process of legal proof requires who advocate has the burden of proof, but those countless infringements lessen the feasibility of it in practice.
Remediation for infringement and piracy is the mainly based on regulations like Computer Software Protection Regulations, Protection of Computer Software Regulations and Information Network Transmission Right Protection Ordinance, Regulation on the Protection of the Right to Network Dissemination of Information, and Copyright Law. Remediation related to this issue consists of protection methods and means, which can be divided into civil, administrative and criminal protection. Meanwhile Law enforcement concentrates on complaints, reported acts of piracy by the Copyright Office or the Press and Publication Bureau is really a passive enforcement.
At the judicial level, the obligee should make full use of the preliminary injunction, the preservation of property and evidence preservation measures to protect their own interests. The focus of law enforcement is forensics, namely, the collection and preservation of evidence that proves the rights of holders has been infringed. Infringing websites or web pages or other tort carrier of abuse perpetrators need to be notarized to become evidence. This evidence along with computer software copyright registration from the obligee is needed in litigation. Forensics itself is not easy, not to mention the cost for the required notarization.
Even if the tortfeasor has been caught according to the Copyright Act, it is still difficult to launch severe punishment for piracy due to undermined factors when it comes to final measurement. Such as Article 47 of the Copyright Law and Article 24 of the Computer Software Protection Regulations on the definition of “detrimental to the public interest”, it will allow many infringers to argue that they did not cause harm to the public interest, then to quibble that they are not responsible to those mobile games companies’ loss. Sometimes pirating companies just simply cannot afford to pay compensation.
In short, as an emerging industry, Chinese mobile game industry needs more focused and specific laws and regulations to solve the biggest problem facing the industry—-the piracy issue, in order to get considerable development. View of the lag of law-making process, anti-piracy technology is also needed.

Writer: Ma Fei, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14

作者:马菲
2013年08月28号

关于中国手机游戏业法律的浅析

在中国手机游戏业逐渐由一开始的非联网应用程序逐渐发展为以在线手机游戏为主的数字产业。这样一种基于数字化的手机游戏在通过游戏开发商自主策划,原创美工以及引擎开发之后的销售方面出现了较之前没有网络化之时多样化的销售方式。在销售途径方面,移动游戏通常是通过移动运营商的网络下载,如梦网,空中等WAP站点,同时还有如苹果公司手机所带的App Store这样的集中式数字下载服务。 据统计,在中国一款游戏发行量中,有80%是通过网站下载的,只有20%是通过正常收费渠道下载。虽然下载方式实现了网络化,但游戏本身的技术方面还是同网页游戏存在本质的区别。在这方面同网页游戏相比技术限制还是比较大,手机游戏需要游戏开发商移植不同版本的游戏到不同型号的手机中。为保证游戏性需要减容量减图片的情况时有发生。这就是为何其发展也许不如网页游戏般风生水起,但在近些年手机游戏业也有长足的发展。伴随着这些发展而来的便是网络化之后手机游戏的版权保护等问题。由于是一个新兴的行业国内立法方面的内容相对较少,虽如此近些年出现了一些立法旨在使手机游戏产业运营的各方面做到更为规范化,同时对知识产权的保护做出了明确的规定。
在关于公司发布游戏合理性问题可具体参照《网络游戏管理暂行办法》。其是由文化部发布的中国首部专门针对网络游戏进行管理和规范的部门规章办法,于2010年8月1日起正式实施,共六章三十九条。
根据《办法》总则第二条的规定,网络游戏是指由软件程序和信息数据构成,通过互联网、移动通信网等信息网络提供的游戏产品和服务。现今手机游戏公司所发布的游戏基本都符合此定义,所以手机游戏适合本法。第二条同时规定了网络游戏网上运营的概念,即通过信息网络,使用用户系统或者收费系统向公众提供游戏产品和服务的经营行为,在前面谈到的手机游戏的收费形式亦与此相同。手机游戏公司在发布游戏之前,应符合本法第二章关于经营单位的介绍并取得《网络文化经营许可证》。应具备的条件如下:(一)单位的名称、住所、组织机构和章程;(二)确定的网络游戏经营范围;(三)符合国家规定的从业人员;(四)不低于1000万元的注册资金;(五)符合法律、行政法规和国家有关规定的条件,申请《网络文化经营许可证》的单位为省、自治区、直辖市文化行政部门。
手机游戏的上网运营还应参照本法第13条的规定,在上网运营之日起30天内按规定向国务院文化行政部门履行备案手续。已备案的国产网络游戏应当在其运营网站指定位置及游戏内显著位置标明备案编号。
同时,手机游戏属于《著作权法》Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China,《计算机软件保护条例》Protection of Computer Software Regulations以及《计算机软件著作权登记办法》Registration of Computer Software Copyright Procedures的保护对象。所以作为游戏开发商为保护游戏的版权,应在游戏发行前先到国家版权局进行计算机软件版权登记。
除了事前版权登记的防范措施之外,关于盗版行为的执法也是手机游戏业知识产权保护的一个重要方面。同中国所有与知识产权相关的行业一样,目前中国手机游戏业的盗版情况非常严重。盗版的主要形式除了直接明目张胆的盗版之外,还存在盗版开发者从网站上直接使用他人的源代码,换上一套图片就声称开发出一款新的手机游戏产品的行为。
目前手机游戏软件侵权主要途径是一些网站提供没有经过版权所有人授权的下载,解决纠纷的方式主要由协商解决,或者通过起诉侵权实施者的方式进行。法律严谨的证明程序流程,谁主张谁举证,但侵权人不计其数,在实践上可行性较小。
针对侵权,盗版行为的整治方式主要是依据《计算机软件保护条例》Protection of Computer Software Regulations以及《信息网络传播权保护条例》Regulation on the Protection of the Right to Network Dissemination of Information以及《著作权法》,由保护方式与手段主要分为民事、行政与刑事保护。由文化市场综合执法大队执法,或由版权局执法,有的还由新闻出版局执法所做的事后,针对投诉、举报的侵权盗版行为所做的被动的执法行为。
在司法层面上,权利人要充分运用诉前禁令,财产保全与证据保全措施,保护自己的利益。执法的重点在于取证,即权利人收集保存被侵权的证据—对侵权行为实施者的侵权网站或者网页或者其他侵权载体进行公证,以公正得到的公证书证据和已经取得的计算机软件著作权登记证书的版权所有证明采取法律途径。取证本身就不容易,并且公正的部分需要不少的花费。
即使依版权法抓住了侵权行为者,最后由于衡量价值的因素不好确定很难对盗版行为进行严厉的惩罚。如著作权法第四十七条与《计算机软件保护条例》第二十四条关于“损害公共利益”的定义,就会使很多侵权者理所应当的认为自己并未对公共利益产生危害,只是对手机游戏公司一方产生了危害。有时盗版者无能力支付赔偿,最后不了了之的案件亦有不少。
中国手机游戏业作为一种新兴产业,要想得到长足的发展需要有针对性的法律来主要解决行业面临的最大问题—即盗版问题。同时鉴于法律制定的滞后性应加强自身防盗版技术。

作者:马菲,中美中心国际关系硕士2014

Author: Ma Fei
Date: October 28, 2013

A Brief Analysis on Mobile Gaming Laws in China

Chinese mobile phone game industry has gradually developed from the initial non-network application into an online mobile game based digital industry. The process of such digital-based mobile games is through game developers’ independent planning. The original art, engine development and eventually sales have grown in diversity and sophistication. The sales of mobile games are usually downloaded via the mobile operator’s networking, for instance, WAP sites like Monternet. Centralized digital download services also exist, such as the App Store in an iphone to download the mobile games.
According to statistics, in the circulation of a mobile game in China, 80% are downloaded through the website; only 20% are downloaded from the normal fee channels. Although the networking way of download has been achieved, the technical aspects of the game itself are essentially different from web games. Technical limitations in this regard compared to web games are numerous. Mobile games need game developers to adapt different version of the game to different phone models and platforms. In order to ensure the gameplay, less capacity and less pictures might be required for diverse types of cellphones. This is why the development of mobile games is perhaps not as good and fast as web games, however, it also has made great progress in recent years.
Associated with these developments are the copyright protection and other issues with those network mobile games. Since it is a relatively emerging industry, there are limited domestic content legislations that are directly related. Although those that have been enacted in recent years have been designed to make every aspect of the operations of mobile games industry to be more standardized, Meanwhile, they make clear requirements of the protection of intellectual property rights.
When it comes to those issues related to the releasing of an online game for a mobile phone company, Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games can be served as a reference. It has been published by China’s Ministry of Culture, and serves as the first specialized sector regulation to manage and regulate online games. The formal implementation was from August 1, 2010, with a total of six chapters and thirty-nine articles.
In accordance with the General Provisions Article 2 of this regulation, online games are comprised of the software programs and information data, providing products and services through information networks such as the Internet and mobile communication network game. Those games released by today’s mobile gaming companies are basically in line with this definition, hence, mobile games are suitable for this regulation. Article 2 also provides the concept of online operations of online games, namely, the conduct of operations provides game products and services available to the public through information networks by using the user system or payment system. Before the release of a game, the mobile games company shall comply with the provisions of Chapter II of the introduction of the operating units and get the “Internet culture operation license”. Following conditions are needed in order to get this license: (a) the name, residence, organization and constitution; (b) determined scope of business of online games; (c) employees in line with national requirements; (d) not less than 10 million yuan registered capital; (e) conditions to comply with laws, administrative regulations and the relevant national provisions apply for the units of the “Internet culture operation license.” The government office directly responsible for overseeing this is the cultural administrative departments of the provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government.
The internet operation of mobile games should also refer to the provisions of Article 13 of this regulation—- within 30 days of the date of the Internet operation of Mobile games, companies should put on record to the cultural administrative departments of the State Council in accordance with the regulations filing procedures. Filed domestic online games should be prominently labeled with the record number, specified location within the game in its operating site.
Meanwhile, mobile games are protected objects according to the Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China, Computer Software Protection Ordinance Protection of Computer Software Regulations, as well as Registration of Computer Software Copyright Procedures. So as the game developers, in order to protect the copyright of a game, computer software copyright registration at National Copyright Administration is needed before the game is released.
In addition to the precautions beforehand, copyright registration piracy enforcement is also an important aspect of intellectual property protection in the mobile games industry. Like all intellectual property related industries in China, the Chinese mobile game industry piracy situation is very serious. Besides the main form of directly blatant piracy, there are pirated developers who directly use other people’s source code from the website, switch a set of pictures, and claim that a new mobile game has been developed.
Currently, the main way of mobile game software infringement is the website download has not been authorized by the copyright owner. The main ways to resolve those disputes are through negotiation, or litigations to sue those tort implementers. Strict process of legal proof requires who advocate has the burden of proof, but those countless infringements lessen the feasibility of it in practice.
Remediation for infringement and piracy is the mainly based on regulations like Computer Software Protection Regulations, Protection of Computer Software Regulations and Information Network Transmission Right Protection Ordinance, Regulation on the Protection of the Right to Network Dissemination of Information, and Copyright Law. Remediation related to this issue consists of protection methods and means, which can be divided into civil, administrative and criminal protection. Meanwhile Law enforcement concentrates on complaints, reported acts of piracy by the Copyright Office or the Press and Publication Bureau is really a passive enforcement.
At the judicial level, the obligee should make full use of the preliminary injunction, the preservation of property and evidence preservation measures to protect their own interests. The focus of law enforcement is forensics, namely, the collection and preservation of evidence that proves the rights of holders has been infringed. Infringing websites or web pages or other tort carrier of abuse perpetrators need to be notarized to become evidence. This evidence along with computer software copyright registration from the obligee is needed in litigation. Forensics itself is not easy, not to mention the cost for the required notarization.
Even if the tortfeasor has been caught according to the Copyright Act, it is still difficult to launch severe punishment for piracy due to undermined factors when it comes to final measurement. Such as Article 47 of the Copyright Law and Article 24 of the Computer Software Protection Regulations on the definition of “detrimental to the public interest”, it will allow many infringers to argue that they did not cause harm to the public interest, then to quibble that they are not responsible to those mobile games companies’ loss. Sometimes pirating companies just simply cannot afford to pay compensation.
In short, as an emerging industry, Chinese mobile game industry needs more focused and specific laws and regulations to solve the biggest problem facing the industry—-the piracy issue, in order to get considerable development. View of the lag of law-making process, anti-piracy technology is also needed.

Writer: Ma Fei, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14


作者:马菲
2013年08月28号

关于中国手机游戏业法律的浅析

在中国手机游戏业逐渐由一开始的非联网应用程序逐渐发展为以在线手机游戏为主的数字产业。这样一种基于数字化的手机游戏在通过游戏开发商自主策划,原创美工以及引擎开发之后的销售方面出现了较之前没有网络化之时多样化的销售方式。在销售途径方面,移动游戏通常是通过移动运营商的网络下载,如梦网,空中等WAP站点,同时还有如苹果公司手机所带的App Store这样的集中式数字下载服务。 据统计,在中国一款游戏发行量中,有80%是通过网站下载的,只有20%是通过正常收费渠道下载。虽然下载方式实现了网络化,但游戏本身的技术方面还是同网页游戏存在本质的区别。在这方面同网页游戏相比技术限制还是比较大,手机游戏需要游戏开发商移植不同版本的游戏到不同型号的手机中。为保证游戏性需要减容量减图片的情况时有发生。这就是为何其发展也许不如网页游戏般风生水起,但在近些年手机游戏业也有长足的发展。伴随着这些发展而来的便是网络化之后手机游戏的版权保护等问题。由于是一个新兴的行业国内立法方面的内容相对较少,虽如此近些年出现了一些立法旨在使手机游戏产业运营的各方面做到更为规范化,同时对知识产权的保护做出了明确的规定。
在关于公司发布游戏合理性问题可具体参照《网络游戏管理暂行办法》。其是由文化部发布的中国首部专门针对网络游戏进行管理和规范的部门规章办法,于2010年8月1日起正式实施,共六章三十九条。
根据《办法》总则第二条的规定,网络游戏是指由软件程序和信息数据构成,通过互联网、移动通信网等信息网络提供的游戏产品和服务。现今手机游戏公司所发布的游戏基本都符合此定义,所以手机游戏适合本法。第二条同时规定了网络游戏网上运营的概念,即通过信息网络,使用用户系统或者收费系统向公众提供游戏产品和服务的经营行为,在前面谈到的手机游戏的收费形式亦与此相同。手机游戏公司在发布游戏之前,应符合本法第二章关于经营单位的介绍并取得《网络文化经营许可证》。应具备的条件如下:(一)单位的名称、住所、组织机构和章程;(二)确定的网络游戏经营范围;(三)符合国家规定的从业人员;(四)不低于1000万元的注册资金;(五)符合法律、行政法规和国家有关规定的条件,申请《网络文化经营许可证》的单位为省、自治区、直辖市文化行政部门。
手机游戏的上网运营还应参照本法第13条的规定,在上网运营之日起30天内按规定向国务院文化行政部门履行备案手续。已备案的国产网络游戏应当在其运营网站指定位置及游戏内显著位置标明备案编号。
同时,手机游戏属于《著作权法》Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China,《计算机软件保护条例》Protection of Computer Software Regulations以及《计算机软件著作权登记办法》Registration of Computer Software Copyright Procedures的保护对象。所以作为游戏开发商为保护游戏的版权,应在游戏发行前先到国家版权局进行计算机软件版权登记。
除了事前版权登记的防范措施之外,关于盗版行为的执法也是手机游戏业知识产权保护的一个重要方面。同中国所有与知识产权相关的行业一样,目前中国手机游戏业的盗版情况非常严重。盗版的主要形式除了直接明目张胆的盗版之外,还存在盗版开发者从网站上直接使用他人的源代码,换上一套图片就声称开发出一款新的手机游戏产品的行为。
目前手机游戏软件侵权主要途径是一些网站提供没有经过版权所有人授权的下载,解决纠纷的方式主要由协商解决,或者通过起诉侵权实施者的方式进行。法律严谨的证明程序流程,谁主张谁举证,但侵权人不计其数,在实践上可行性较小。
针对侵权,盗版行为的整治方式主要是依据《计算机软件保护条例》Protection of Computer Software Regulations以及《信息网络传播权保护条例》Regulation on the Protection of the Right to Network Dissemination of Information以及《著作权法》,由保护方式与手段主要分为民事、行政与刑事保护。由文化市场综合执法大队执法,或由版权局执法,有的还由新闻出版局执法所做的事后,针对投诉、举报的侵权盗版行为所做的被动的执法行为。
在司法层面上,权利人要充分运用诉前禁令,财产保全与证据保全措施,保护自己的利益。执法的重点在于取证,即权利人收集保存被侵权的证据—对侵权行为实施者的侵权网站或者网页或者其他侵权载体进行公证,以公正得到的公证书证据和已经取得的计算机软件著作权登记证书的版权所有证明采取法律途径。取证本身就不容易,并且公正的部分需要不少的花费。
即使依版权法抓住了侵权行为者,最后由于衡量价值的因素不好确定很难对盗版行为进行严厉的惩罚。如著作权法第四十七条与《计算机软件保护条例》第二十四条关于“损害公共利益”的定义,就会使很多侵权者理所应当的认为自己并未对公共利益产生危害,只是对手机游戏公司一方产生了危害。有时盗版者无能力支付赔偿,最后不了了之的案件亦有不少。
中国手机游戏业作为一种新兴产业,要想得到长足的发展需要有针对性的法律来主要解决行业面临的最大问题—即盗版问题。同时鉴于法律制定的滞后性应加强自身防盗版技术。

作者:马菲,中美中心国际关系硕士2014

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