Script killing copyright urgently needs strong protection

  □ Yang Yong

  In recent years, script killing has gradually become a social game that many young people love.

According to the research report released by the third-party organization iiMedia Data Center, as of the end of 2020, there have been more than 30,000 script-killing stores nationwide.

Despite the impact of the epidemic, the scale of the script killing market is still growing to 11.74 billion yuan in 2020. It is expected that the industry will continue to grow in the future, and it will exceed 17 billion yuan in 2021.

  However, behind the popularity of the script-killing industry, online sales of infringing and pirated script-killing scripts have gradually become rampant.

According to data from the 12426 Copyright Monitoring Center, more than 60 scripts such as "Shering Li", "A Thousand Autumn Poems" and "The Mountain" have been detected on seven mainstream e-commerce platforms with 5,418 suspected pirated sales links.

These infringements and piracy have seriously violated the legitimate rights and interests of relevant right holders.

  From the perspective of the content of the script kill business model, the script kill mainly consists of text, pictures, costumes, props, videos, music and other elements, which are all related to the rights of the work.

Currently, there are two main types of scripts sold online: one is physical books, and the other is electronic books. The former is obviously related to scripts killing text works, reproduction rights and distribution rights of art works, and the latter is related to script killings. The information network dissemination right of literary works and fine art works is related.

In addition, the behavior of the script-killing operator who purchases the script-killing electronic book of another person and then prints it offline is related to the copy right of the script-killing text and art works.

  At the same time, many script kills have DM (host) characters and NPC (non-player) characters that lead players to the game.

The role of the host or NPC is part of the program, which often has scripts, scripts, content, lines, and performances.

Because the live audience is constantly changing, the host’s performance is to open the programmatic content to the unspecified public, that is to say, the host’s programmatic performance can constitute a performance.

In the long-term judicial practice, the unspecified public can be regarded as the public, and the places that provide services to the unspecified public can be regarded as public places.

Accordingly, the host’s live performance of the scripted content of the script to an unspecified public constitutes a performance, which also conforms to the definition of the performance right of the copyright law on performing works publicly performed on-site to the public.

By analogy, the NPC character that leads the player to the game can also constitute a performance behavior.

  As for whether script killing involves information network dissemination rights and broadcasting rights, it is related to the business model of its dissemination to the public.

Generally speaking, the script killing variety show provided by TV stations is related to the broadcasting right, and the script killing variety show provided by the network audio-visual program service provider is related to the information network dissemination right.

From the perspective of the development trend of the script-killing business model, online and offline script-killing will gradually merge, and offline script-killing operators can also carry out online live broadcast activities of script-killing, and these business models are related to broadcasting rights. .

After the revision of the Copyright Law, the broadcasting right has broken through the original concept, that is, all webcasting activities can be classified into the control scope of broadcasting right.

In short, the live broadcast behavior of script-killing business activities falls within the scope of the exclusive right of broadcasting rights; the on-demand behavior of providing script-killing business activities falls within the scope of the exclusive right to control information network communication rights.

  In addition, although the universal rules and gameplay designed in chess, games, and competitive games belong to the category of ideas, they are generally not protected by copyright law.

However, specific rules, gameplay, scenes and plots with original expressions are protected by copyright law and have been recognized in judicial practice.

For example, in the case of "Tai Chi Panda" v. "Hua Qian Gu" Online Game Swap Skin, the court held that specific rules and gameplay with original expressions can constitute works and are copyrightable.

In addition, in the case of Qiong Yao v. Yu Zheng’s TV drama "Gongsuoliancheng" infringing copyright, the court also determined that the plots had original expressions, and the cohesion between the plots and the logical sequence of personalized creative expressions were copyrightable. The plagiarism of these plots and bridges constitutes an infringement of the right of adaptation of the original work.

This means that the specific rules, gameplay, plot and other ideological elements involved in the script, plus some expression elements, make it copyrightable when it appears in the form of original expression.

  In short, although script killing is an emerging social game, it does not mean that it is a wilderness of copyright protection.

Regardless of the business model, as long as the act of dissemination falls within the scope of the copyright exclusive rights control of the work, it can be protected by the relevant provisions of the Copyright Law.

For infringement disputes involving complex content such as script-killing specific rules, gameplay, scenes, plots, etc., specific issues can be analyzed specifically within the scope of copyright laws and regulations, or relief can be sought within the scope of anti-unfair competition laws and regulations.

Only when copyright is effectively protected can creators be more motivated, and the development of the cultural industry can enter a virtuous circle and achieve rapid development.

  (The author is a researcher at the Institute of Intellectual Property Law and Policy, East China University of Political Science and Law)

Keywords: iimedia data center, script killing, protection, game, scripts, script, copyright, impact, infringement, sales, need, npc, information network dissemination, people, other