Beijing Beauty View Photo Co., Ltd. (Plaintiff) v.
Beijing Sina Internet Information Service Co., Ltd. (Defendant),
on infringement of copyright
Date: 22 September 2004
Beijing Beauty View Photo Co., Ltd. (Beauty View) is an online provider of stock photography and depends on the licensing of photographs as its major source of income. The Plaintiff discovered that 2 of its copyrighted photographs, which had been included in its online ViewStock Photo Store, were published without the Plaintiff¡¯s authorization on the Defendant¡¯s web site, www.sina.com (Sina.com), for the purpose of promoting the Defendant¡¯s services.
The Plaintiff filed suit against the Defendant in the Haidian District People¡¯s Court in Beijing (Court), claiming against infringement of its right to disseminate copyright materials over information networks and its right to preserve the integrity of its works. The Plaintiff sought an injunction against the infringing act as well as compensation.
The Defendant argued that the Plaintiff¡¯s rights had not been infringed upon for the following reasons:
¡¤ Sina.com had used only modified versions of portions of the 2 photographs;
¡¤ all images that had used the photographs in question were removed from Sina.com¡¯s web pages prior to the filing of the lawsuit; and
¡¤ the Plaintiff had not produced any Copyright Registration Certificate for the 2 photographs.
Upon reviewing the evidence, the Court found as follows:
1. The 2 photographs were created by Mr Lu Yi, who conferred ownership of copyright in the photographs to the Plaintiff in an agreement concluded between the Plaintiff and Lu. The Defendant had used the 2 photographs and made changes thereto without having obtained authorization therefor from the Plaintiff. As such, the Defendant had infringed upon the Plaintiff¡¯s right to disseminate its copyright materials over information networks and to preserve the integrity of its works as set forth in Articles 9, 10 and 47 of the Copyright Law of the People¡¯s Republic of China (Copyright Law).
2. The Defendant had never paid the Plaintiff for its use of the 2 photographs, and had thereby also infringed upon the Plaintiff¡¯s right to receive remuneration for the use of its works in accordance with Articles 10, 47 and 48 of the Copyright Law.
3. The Court indicated that it would determine the amount of compensation to be paid to the Plaintiff on the basis of the Plaintiff¡¯s actual losses.
On 22 September 2004, the Court ruled that the Defendant must cease the infringing act, eliminate the effects of the infringement and apologize to the Plaintiff on Sina.com. The Defendant was also ordered to pay RMB10,000 to the Plaintiff as compensation, as well as the full amount of the court costs, namely, RMB1,390.