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China Renders its First Court Judgment on Digital Human Infringement

Mon, 26 Jun 2023
Categories: China Legal Trends

In April 2023, China’s Hangzhou Internet Court found that it was an infringement of the Digital Human's creator's copyright to publish a video containing the Digital Human's image without the creator's permission.

In this case, the Mofa Information Technology Co. Ltd. (“Mofa”) used artificial intelligence technology to create Ada, a hyper-realistic virtual digital human.

In October and November 2019, Mofa released two videos about the digital human on a video platform .

In July 2022, a company based in Hangzhou (the “Hangzhou Company”) posted the above two videos on its TikTok account to market its own products.

Mofa sued the Hangzhou Company in the Hangzhou Internet Court. It argued that the Hangzhou Company had infringed its right of communication of information on network of art works and audiovisual works, and infringed the right of communication of information on network of video producers and performers in video productions, and constituted unfair competition by false advertising.

The Hangzhou Internet Court held that:

  1. Digital human is, to some extent, only a tool for authors to create and has no authorship. Digital human is not a performer and does not enjoy performer’s rights. Under the current copyright law, Digital human does not enjoy copyright and neighbouring rights.
  2. Digital human is an art work. The videos using Digital human Ada’s image are audiovisual works and video recordings respectively. Mofa, as its creator, enjoys property rights and video producers’ rights in the said works.
  3. The Hangzhou Company’s publication of the videos produced by Mofa infringes the right of communication of information on network of audiovisual works, the art works, video producers and performers.



Cover Photo by Stephen Fang on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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