Centre for Digital Copyright and Intellectual Property Research in China

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of English


The Digital Copyright Centre, led and co-ordinated by the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) will build science and innovation capacity within China in the area of Digital Copyright and Intellectual Property (IP). It addresses the current five-year plan in China to grow the creative economy - newly designated a 'pillar industry' - to 6% of GDP and will engage with a range of key stakeholders in China in the domains of government (national, regional and municipal), business (not least in the legal, technical and creative sectors) and higher education.
Key research questions will cover two core areas:
1. IP, Policy, Regulation and Licensing, looking at: enforcement and regulation issues; digital assets in post-mortem legal contexts; publishing platforms; protocols, licenses and permissions; the benefits of comparative research; national and provincial contexts in China; and the particular model of copyright and collecting societies from the UK context.
2. Platforms, tools and technologies, looking at: business innovation models; professional versus amateur distinctions; fair use agreements; and the unlocking of cultural heritage collections for public benefit.
The Centre is supported by funding from the Ningbo Science and Technology Bureau and will work closely with the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Digital Age (CREATe, University of Glasgow) and the Horizon Digital Economy Research Hub (University of Nottingham). The UNNC Centre will act as a hub with spokes in partnership with other centres of research in China in Beijing (CASS), Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and elsewhere.
As well as policy papers, research monographs, articles, websites, symposia and workshops, we expect outputs to include training and knowledge exchange opportunities. With IP and new digital technologies at the heart of Chinese governmental strategy and UK-China collaborations in trade, industry and the creative arts over the next five year period, we hope this Centre with have genuine social and practical impact in both countries.
Description As PI of the AHRC Centre for Digital Copyright and IP Research in China (the Centre), I oversaw the work of its six constituent research projects, which were:
1. Intellectual property practice in Creative and IT Industries: A comparison study between China and the UK from the User-centred Perspective (University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, Ningbo)
2. Convergence or differentiation in IP protection strategies and business models? new models for digital film distribution in China (University of Edinburgh,IP Law, Law School Perking University)
3. Fair use in copyright of works in the digital domain (Anglia Ruskin University, Peking University Law School)
4. Regulating Internet Intermediaries in China: legal and empirical evidence for better policy making (Bournemouth University, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences )
5. A Technological Licensing Framework for 3D Printed Content: A Focus on China (University of Exeter, Chinese University of Political Science and Law)
6. China Digital Copyright Exchange (BOP Consulting, Beijing Foreign Studies University Law School)
Furthermore, I also oversee the research conducted with match funding from the University of Nottingham Ningbo, which is being used to fully fund three PhD studentships based at the University of Nottingham Ningbo. The topics of research are as follows:
1. IP and copyright in practice - a comparative study of UK and China's IP system in the music industry
2. Factors determining a firm's innovativeness: an empirical study in e-commerce industry in UK and China
3. How Could Chinese Film Industry Generates Profits From IP Protection
Finally, the Ningbo Bureau of Sciene and Technology (NSTB) contributed match funded for a number of associated projects.
All projects are now completed, and two key sets of findings emerged. One concerns the kinds of IP and copyright protection regulations that are most conducive to promoting the growth of creative industries in China , and to removing obstacles to international cooperation in this fields. Detailed recommendations have been developed and published, as described in 'outputs', and also form the basis of the policy recommendations made by team led by Rohan Kariyawasam to the Chinese government (see: narrative impact). The second set of key findings concerned the use of technologies for making existing IP and copyright protections more effective in Chinese creative industries. These are described in outputs by Griffin et al., inform the MoU now signed between The Copyright Hub UK and the China Copyright Protection Centre of China (see narrative impact), and also form the focus on ongoing impact collaborations, as well as a further follow-on funding application (currently under consideration) led by Effi Law.
Exploitation Route We are working with the Ningbo Bureau of Science and Technology to explore how Ningbo can learn from the IPR management experiences of small- and medium- sized companies in developed countries. Several of our projects work closely with policy makers in China at local, regional, and national level, and hope to achieve policy impact on patent law and future copyright and IP legislation. Details of these are provided under 'partnerships'.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.nottingham.edu.cn/en/ahrc/index.aspx
Description Xiuping Hua's research on the usage of Intellectual Property rights in high technology firms' financing employed the Patent Information Search Platform (NBPIS) is supported by the Intellectual Property Office of Ningbo. This database contains all electronic records of the patent from over 99 national databases and includes basic information such as company name, application date, grant date, patent number and patent award. In 2018, the database was updated from provincial level to national level and acquired 198507 patent data. Information on firms' patenting activity was obtained from the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) Patent Database, which provides complete information on all granted patent from 1985 to 2017 on patent assignee names, the application and publication number of patents, application and grant year, IPC classification number, type of the patent, and the number of citations received by each patent. Based on the information retrieved from the SIPO patent database, Xiuping's team constructed the measure of a firm's innovation productivity---the number of patent applications a firm files in a year that are eventually granted. Effie Law and Sun Xu have established collaborations with several design institutions. Design directors Kechuang Design, Morgen Design, CH-LAB Design have supported teaching delivery at the University of Nottingham in Ningbo (UNNC) as industrial design consultants to supervise student projects to ensure they meet industrial standards. Design directors from Zhuoyi Design and Mingrui Design organised IP relevant design workshop to train UNNC students. Conor Roche: The Copyright Hub UK and the China Copyright Protection Centre of China have signed an MoU that sets out an agreement to corporate for the purposes of integrating China's Digital Copyright Identifier system with the UK's Copyright Hub. The purpose of that agreement to simplify and automate the process of rights discovery and licencing between the two countries. We also hope that this will be a step towards the development of an international network of interoperable rights information networks, identifier systems and licencing exchanges. This agreement is as a direct result of the original AHRC funded project. Anglia Ruskin University and BOP Consulting, along with a number of other partners including a development team from China, are currently in the process of applying to the AHRC to support the development of a combined distributed digital copyright registration, rights information network and a licencing solution called a copyright exchange (exchange). The project will investigate the viability of an exchange to eliminate the persistent barriers to the trade and protection of digital copyright internationally. The exchange will be developed using a distributed blockchain solution and SMART- contract framework. For the purposes of this project, a pilot exchange will be developed and deployed across a pilot region comprising of the UK, China, India, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Russia and Europe. James Griffin and Hing Kai Chan have submitted a patent application for the digital watermarking technology developed in this project, which would allow owners of copyright to monitor the online use of 2D and 3D objects, and enforce their copyright in instances of commercialisation. A decision on the patent is pending. The team led by Rohan Kariyawasam continues to publicise its recommendations for legal reforms in this areas; this work was covered in the Chinese national media, see Chinese weblink here: http://www.ncac.gov.cn/chinacopyright/contents/4509/305750.html Also, Peking University and Xi'an Jiaotong University law school websites include details of the project. The team are in the process of sending a list of recommendations arising from the project to amend the Chinese draft third revision to the Copyright Act to the legislative section of the Chinese State Council and the National People's Congress (the two highest legislative arms of the Chinese government).
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Description ESRC Business Boost Fund
Amount £4,299 (GBP)
Organisation ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Cambridge 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 12/2018
Description NSTB match fund 
Organisation Ningbo Government
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Ningbo Buerau of Science and Technology, part of the Ningbo government, funds the following projects that contribute to the work of the AHRC centre for IP and digital copyright in China: Nottingham microfilm project - the China market phase II PI: Filippo Gilardi Award: 224,041 RMB Digital technology enhanced cultural and heritage in the development of the knowledge economy PI: Eugene Ch'ng Award: 425,000 RMB Developing Innovation Capability and Intellectual Property in Ningbo Digital Businesses PI: Thomas Birtch Award: 273,500 RMB Two projects entitled the usage of Intellectual Property rights in high technology firms' financing and the IP management experiences of small- and medium- sized companies in developed countries PI: Xiuping Hua Award: 240,000 RMB + the employment of 1 Research Assistant
Collaborator Contribution The NSTB funds the above projects as a match for the grant, and has been closely involved in their selection, as well as giving advice to the Centre's director at UNNC, Prof Andrew White, on the research questions that would have the most direct impact for them in terms of developing new policies around IP and digital copyright in Ningbo.
Impact The projects are still ongoing; a full report will be provided upon completion of the grant.
Start Year 2015