Q:

What are the laws on viewing Chinese television programs online?

A:

Quick Answer

The Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China protects television shows from copyright infringement, and China has also ratified the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and other international copyright agreements, reports the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The Berne Convention provides automatic copyright protection in all participating countries, states the World Intellectual Property Organization. Under copyright law, viewers can stream television shows but violate copyright law if they download them, notes Business Insider.

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Full Answer

Chinese copyright law extends copyright protection to musical, dramatic, cinematographic and audio-visual works, according to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The protection includes the rights of reproduction, leasing, public performance and broadcasting. Under copyright law, the distributor who uploads unlicensed content is in violation of copyright law, not the viewer who streams the content. Under the terms of the Berne Convention, contracting states offer the same copyright protection to intellectual works from contracting foreign states, as they do to their own nationals, explains the World Intellectual Property Organization. As of 1989, the United States is a member of the Berne Convention, notes the U.S. Copyright Office.

The penalty for illegally downloading copyrighted works is a fine of up to $30,000 for each infringed work, explains the U.S. Copyright Office. Viewers who purchase works through authorized services avoid not only possible heavy financial penalties but also viruses, spyware and other risky material that viewers encounter on peer-to-peer downloading networks.

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