From the "signature" to see the ownership of works

In the case of copyright disputes, usually, if the right holder wants to prove that he is the copyright owner, he can prove it by means of attribution, copyright registration certificate, manuscript, etc. Then we will analyze the role of "signature" in the attribution of copyright rights in a case .
Plaintiff: Huagai Creative (Beijing) Image Technology Co., Ltd.

Defendant: Harbin Zhenglin Software Development Co., Ltd.

Basic case: Huagai found in the defendant ’s brochure that a picture A is exactly the same as the copyrighted picture B of, and sued the defendant Zhenglin for copyright infringement. The defendant filed a defense against the ownership of Huagai's non-copyright owner, but did not provide evidence to the contrary. The court of first instance supported Huagai ’s lawsuit and Zhenglin ’s infringement was established. The case also went through the second instance and retrial procedures, but the author only analyzes the opinion of the court of first instance that the infringement was established, because the Supreme Court finally supported the trial opinion of the court of first instance in the retrial.

In this case, the focus of the dispute determined by the court of first instance was: 1. Can gettyimages sign its photographic works with watermarks? Can it be determined that it is the copyright owner in this way; 2. Whether an exclusive license can independently claim related rights;

According to the provisions of Article 11 of China's Copyright Law:

The copyright belongs to the author, except as otherwise provided in this law.
The citizen who creates the work is the author.
Works presided over by a legal person or other organization, created on behalf of the will of the legal person or other organization, and for which the legal person or other organization is responsible, the legal person or other organization is regarded as the author.

If there is no proof to the contrary, the citizen, legal person or other organization that signed the work is the author.

It can be seen from the above provisions that the person who signed the work is the author, that is, the copyright owner. In this case, gettyimages has added a legal person watermark to its photographic work, which is equivalent to a "signature" and a copyright statement. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, gettyimages should be the copyright owner of this photographic work. Moreover, regarding whether Beijing Huagai Company can act as the right holder, gettyimages exclusively licenses Beijing Huagai Company to sell its photographic works in China, and conducts rights protection litigation on infringement disputes. There is an authorization letter signed between the two parties. Claiming rights in the name of tort. Although there was a small episode in the second instance of this case, which changed the judgment of the first instance, Huagai defended its rights and maintained the authority of the law through its own strong evidence in the retrial stage.

It can be seen from this case that in practice, the right holder can prove the attribution of the copyright by claiming the copyright on the work. If the defendant challenges the ownership, the burden of proof will be reversed. Therefore, the author recommends that the author Be sure to sign your works to safeguard your legal rights.

Beijing headquarters

6th Floor, Huayi Holding Building, No.11 Caihefang Road, Haidian District, Beijing

US Office

1420 McKendall West Road, Allen, Texas

German Office

23 Westmeister, Berlin