Official: Porn Copyright Protection Lies With Local Courts

Official: Porn Copyright Protection Lies With Local Courts
Lyla Katz

TAIPEI, Taiwan — It’s up to local courts, not Taiwan's Copyright Act, to decide whether porn films should be subject to copyright protection, according to an intellectual property rights official.

FocusTaiwan reports the remarks from Wang Mei-hua, the director general of the Intellectual Property Office, came after lawyers representing Japan’s top eight porn companies urged Taiwan to protect the producer’s copyrighted productions from pirating.

The producers claim they are losing huge revenue because more of their productions are being sold in the local black market, aired on cable television and distributed by telecommunications service providers.

The producer’s lawyers said that while the government does crackdown on pirates of pornography, they only punish sellers for distributing obscene material, not violating intellectual property rights.

The lawyers also called for negotiations with various media outlets and service providers on the issue of authorization. Or, the attorneys said, they will bring commercial piracy suits against the Taiwanese service providers. The producers are also demanding nearly $30 million in compensation from those companies who they say are using their work without authorization.

In a 1999 copyright lawsuit brought on by Japanese porn companies against Taiwanese pirates, the Supreme Court ruled that porn films are obscene and therefore are not entitled to copyright protection.

Lawyers argued Taiwan should grant the same copyright protection to original porn films as other types of films, regardless of what effect adult films have on social morals and customs.

Wade agreed that original material should be given copyright protection, but said the ultimate decision lies with the local courts.

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