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Copyright Rules for UGC Platforms: From the Safe Harbor Rule to a Levy Scheme

Huang Weijie(Law School, Shenzhen University)

Abstract

The safe harbor rule was introduced to exempt Internet service providers
(ISPs) from liability for copyright infringement committed by ISP users.
Nevertheless, the safe harbor rule was crafted for ISPs that provide passive, content-neutral service to distribute copyrighted works. Therefore, the safe harbor rule is difficult to accommodate UGC (user-generated-content) platforms due to their active role in facilitating the distribution and even the creation of copyrighted works. The uncertainty of UGC platforms’ liability has led copyright owners to directly target individual UGC creators. In order to unleash the creativity of users without harming the interests of copyright owners, a levy scheme should be introduced. Under the levy scheme, users are allowed to freely use copyrighted works to create UGC for non-commercial purpose. UGC platforms are required to remunerate the copyright owners of the copyrighted works used in the UGC posted on the platforms based on the popularity of the UGC.

Keywords

Copyright; ISP; UGC platforms; Safe harbor rule; Levy schemes

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References

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26549/met.v5i2.7711

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