Regulations Concerning Distribution Right Appointment of Domestic Films of Between 1 October 1949 and 30 June 1993

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In order to further implement the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”, implement the State Council “Regulations Concerning Further Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection Work”, continue to deepen film sector structural reform, promote film undertaking development, with the agreement of the National Copyright Administration, hereby, the following regulations are made concerning the question of distribution right appointment of domestic films from between 1 October 1949 and 30 June 1993:

According to the provisions of relevant items in the “Ministry of Culture Five Provisional Regulations Concerning Film” issued in 1950 by the Administrative Council, in the beginning of the establishment of the New China, domestic films are one whole, their copyrights (including publication rights, revision rights, paternity rights, rights such as production, distribution, exhibition, editing, broadcasting, etc.), revert to the possession of the film studio.

In May 1953, the original Ministry of Culture Film Bureau, in order to implement unified and centralized government management over the film sector, implement a planned economy operational method with planned production, unified state purchasing and marketing and a centralized bursary system, issued the “Ministry of Culture Film Department Directive Concerning Powers, Responsibilities, Professional Scope and Financial Relations of Film Enterprises Practicing Economic Accounting” (hereafter named Document (53)FK No. 1682), decided to adopt the conduct of specialized labour division of the film sector according to production, distribution, provision and development, etc., providing “Film studios have film shooting, film dubbing and printing copies as main professions”. “Film distribution companies have purchasing completed film distribution rights, film distribution, selling of copies, selling or exchanging of domestic and foreign distribution rights as main professions. After promulgation of this document, domestic film distribution rights were separated according to administrative regulations from the complete copyright, and appointed to the China Film Distribution Company (hereafter named China Film Company) for purchase and enjoyment. And a history of 40 years of dislocation between production and demand of our country’s domestic film was shaped, this was a sort of administrative step adopted in the planned economy system of that time, but is not suited to the present socialist market economy policy and relevant laws and regulations.

After the 3rd plenum of the 11th Party Congress, in the middle of the Eighties, although film studios and distribution companies conducted reform probes successively of a part of film distribution time limits, distribution methods, profit distribution, etc., but all have not yet addressed the question of appointment of distribution rights. According to the provisions of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”: the producer of film works enjoys the use rights and the right of obtaining remuneration over film works, including obtaining remuneration through authorizing use of film works in the methods of reproduction and distribution. It can be seen that film distribution rights significantly affects all film studios’ existence and development, and directly influences the flourishing of film creation.

In order to make film creation flourish, benefit the promotion of the economic film system reform, adapt to the socialist market economy development, according to relevant provisions of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”, as well as the State principle concerning administrative regulations having to conform to law and may not contradict State laws, with the agreement of the National Copyright Administration, it is decided to abolish Document (53)FK No. 1682, and on the basis of relevant provisions of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”, make the following regulations on the appointment of distribution rights of domestic films (including feature films, documentary films, science films and art films) from between 1 October 1949 and 30 June 1993:

I, Definition of distribution rights of domestic film from between 1 October 1949 and 30 June 1993

Distribution rights as noted in the original Ministry of Culture Film Bureau Document (53)FK No. 1682 from 1953, according to the international and domestic film technology level and dissemination means of that time, referred to the right of the holder to provide film copies during a specified time limit, in order to satisfy screening venues’ film screening requirements, to cinemas, mobile screening teams, clubs, film and theatre buildings, etc., by methods such as renting, lending, selling, etc. Therefore, the question of distribution rights as regulated at that time, mainly was limited to the distribution rights of providing film copies (for projection through projectors) to screening venues, and generally did not include distribution rights using film works in other ways. But following scientific and technological development, and the appearance of multimedia, film distribution rights have progressively expanded from cinema copy distribution rights and cinema screening rights,  to include film work magnetic tape distribution rights and television station broadcasting, publication and distribution of recorded products as well as printing publications and corresponding particular products, etc. Because of this, These Regulations concerning film distribution rights also include the question of using film works through other means.

II, Concerning domestic film distribution appointment and use limits.

Distribution rights of domestic films from between 1 October 1949 and 31 May 1993 purchased by China Film Company according to Document (53)FK No. 1682, according to the relevant provisions of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”, integrating the real circumstances, are to be dealt with according to the following methods:

(1) Domestic films bought by China Film Company between 1 October 1949 and 31 May 1991:

1, Where China Film Company has not signed a contract with each film studio or there is no concrete contractual time limit agreement despite there being a contract, enjoyment of distribution rights will revert to the film studio.

2, Where the contractual time limit exceeds ten years (including films with perpetual film distribution rights or one-time sale to China Film Company such as “The Tree of Life and Death” and “Moment of Truth”, according to the provision in the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” that contractual time limits may not exceed ten years, ten years beginning from the date of signing the contract, after the contractual time limit ends, distribution rights revert to the film studio, where it is necessary, both parties may sign a continuing contract.

(2) Domestic films bought by China Film Company after the date of implementation of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”, i.e. 1 June 1991 and 30 June 1993:

1, Where China Film Company has not signed a contract with film studios or there is not concrete contractual time limit agreement despite there being a contract, the time limit to be used is to be fixed through negotiation by both parties. Where both parties cannot reach an identical opinion in negotiation, distribution rights are to be dealt with according to five years, i.e. after five years from the date of signing the contract (where there is no contract, from the date of starting distribution of copies), enjoyment of distribution rights reverts to the film studios.

2, Where the contractual time limit is within ten years, the contractual time limit shall be implemented.

3, Where the contractual time limit exceeds ten years, such as films like “The Profound Courtyard”,  according to the provision in the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” that contractual time limits may not exceed ten years, ten years beginning from the date of signing the contract, after the contractual time limit ends, distribution rights revert to the film studio, where it is necessary, both parties may sign a continuing contract.

(3) Concerning China Film Company’s use of film works through other methods such as film tape distribution rights, recorded programme publication and distribution rights, television station broadcast rights, etc., this shall be dealt with according to the following methods:

1, Where China Film Company’s contracts with film studios include use of film works through other methods, it shall be implemented according to the contract, but the one-time contractual validity period may not exceed ten years.

2, For situations where finished film tape products are already produced by China Film Company, and already sold, and exceeding of contractual time limits occurs in the selling work unit, as well as where the original contract does not include use of film works through other means, China Film Company continues implementation, and guarantees that the selling work unit has lawful sale rights. But where after implementation of these Regulations, China Film Company still has selling income, it shall be considered as agency work, and both parties negotiate a representation fee.  Where both parties cannot reach an identical opinion in negotiation, the China Film Company agency fee is to be collected according to 15% of the total distribution income amount, 85% of the total distribution income amount shall revert to the film studio.

III, Concerning the question of domestic films exported before 30 June 1993

(1) Where there already domestic film foreign distribution rights contracts signed by China Film Company with foreign parties, it shall be implemented according to the original contract. Where China Film Company provides continuous supervising and implementing for the original contracting work unit, after the contract validity expires, foreign distribution rights revert to the film studio.

(2) Where exporting domestic films exceeds the period of validity of the contract signed with the film studio, and after implementation of these Regulations, China Film Company still has sales income, it shall be seen as export agency work, foreign income division shall be handled according to relevant State export regulations.

IV, The methods of dealing with film copies stored by all provincial, autonomous region and municipal and local, city and county film distribution companies are:

(1) Questions of appointment of domestic stored film copies and film works used in other ways distributed between 1 October 1949 and 30 June 1993, shall be implemented according to these Regulations. All distribution and screening work units may not distribute or screen stored film copies exceeding contractual time limits, and may also not use in other ways stored film copies exceeding contractual time limits.

(2) Distribution companies or film copy holders of film copies stored in excess of contractual validity and needing to be screened again or film works used in other ways, shall conclude an agreement with the film studio again.

(3) Stored film copies not being screened again must be discarded as useless and desilvered or the waste films are to be used in recycling, all provincial, autonomous region and municipal, and local, city and county distribution companies may directly contact Changchun Film Studio, Beijing Film Development, Printing and Recording Technology Factory or Shanghai Film Technology Company for purchase methods, the extracted silver shall be sold to the People’s Bank of China according to relevant State regulations, and may not be sold to individuals or other work units.

(4) The economic benefits of discarding and desilvering, or use in recycling revert to the relevant provincial, autonomous region and municipal, and local city and county companies.

V, China Film Company,  all provincial, autonomous region and municipal, and local city and county distribution companies, all film studies must strengthen cooperation according to these Regulations, and do well the settling work of distribution rights for all sorts of films from 1 October 1949 to 30 June 1993. According to the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”, all film producing work units and China Film Company, all levels’ film distribution companies must strengthen copyright protection work, work units and individuals not having obtained distribution rights for films and their reproductions may all not reproduce, sell, rent, lend and conduct cinema and television screening (broadcast) activities.

VI, All film studios, China Film Company, all distribution companies, and studios using film works from now on, shall strictly sign contracts according to the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”.

VII, All provincial, autonomous region and municipal Culture offices (bureaus) are requested to transmit these Regulations to all levels’ film distribution and screening work units. These Regulations apply at the same time to film distribution and screening work units in all parts oft the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the trade and labour system, the education system, etc.

VIII, These Regulations take effect on 16 October 1994. Relevant administrative regulations and rules promulgated before this, in all cases where there is contradiction with these Regulations, these Regulations shall apply.

IX, Interpretation of these Regulations is the responsibility of the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television Film Bureau.

产电影发行权归属的规定

为了进一步实施《中华人民共和国著作权法》,贯彻国务院《关于进一步加强知识产权保护工作的决定》,继续深化电影行业机制改革,推动电影事业的发展,经商国家版权局同意,现对1949年10月1日至1993年6月30日期间国产电影发行权归属问题作出以下规定:
按照1950年原政务院发布的《文化部关于电影五个暂行规定》的有关条款规定,在新中国建立初,国产电影作为一个整体,其版权(包括发表权、修改权、署名权、复制、发行、展览、改编、播放等权)归制片厂所有。
1953年5月,原文化部电影局为实施政府对电影行业的统一集中管理,实行计划生产、统购包销、统收统支的计划经济经营方式,曾发布《文化部电影局关于电影企业推行经济核算制的权限、责任、业务范围及财务关系的指示》(下称〔53〕电王字第1682号文),决定对电
影行业采取按制片、发行、供应、洗印等进行专业分工,规定:“制片厂以摄制影片、译制影片及印制拷贝为主要业务”。“影片发行公司以收购制成影片发行权、发行影片、出售拷贝、出售或交换影片国内外发行权为主要业务”。此文发布后,国产影片发行权便按行政规定从整体版权中
分离出来,划归中国电影发行公司(下称中影公司)收购享有。并形成我国国产影片产销脱节长达40年的历史,这是当时计划经济体制下所采取的一种行政措施,但与当前社会主义市场经济的方针>策及有关法规已不相适应。
党的十一届三中全会以后,在80年代中期,虽然制片厂与发行公司曾先后对部分影片的发行期限、发行方式、收益分配等进行过改革试探,但均未涉及发行权的归属问题。根据《中华人民共和国著作权法》的规定:电影作品的制片者,享有对电影作品的使用权和获得报酬的权利,其
中包括以复制发行的形式授权使用电影作品并获得报酬。可见,影片发行权对每个制片厂的生存、发展关系重大,而且直接影响着电影创作的繁荣。
为了繁荣电影创作,有利于推进电影经济体制改革,适应社会主义市场经济的发展,依据《中华人民共和国著作权法》有关规定,以及国家关于行政规定必须符合法律、不得与国家法律相抵触的原则,经商国家版权局同意,决定废止〔53〕电王字第1682号文,并依据《中华人民
共和国著作权法》有关规定,对1949年10月1日至1993年6月30日期间的国产电影(包括故事片、纪录片、科教片、美术片)发行权的归属作出如下规定:
一、对1949年10月1日至1993年6月30日期间国产电影发行权的界定
1953年原文化部电影局(53)电王字第1682号文中所指影片发行权,按当时国际、国内电影技术水平和传播手段,是指影片持有人在一定期限内,为满足放映场所放映电影需要,向电影院、流动放映队、俱乐部、影剧场等以出租、出借、出售等方式提供影片拷贝的权利。所
以,当时所规定的发行权问题,主要限于对放映场所提供(通过放映机放映电影)影片的发行权,一般不包含以其他形式使用电影作品的发行权。但随着科学技术的发展,多媒体的出现,电影发行权已从影院拷贝发行权和影院放映权,逐步扩大为包括电影作品磁带发行权和电视台播放、录
像制品出版发行以及印刷出版物和相关的特种制品等。因此,本规定关于影片发行权还包括以其他形式使用电影作品的问题。
二、关于国产影片发行的归属和使用期限
中影公司按原〔53〕电王字第1682号文收购的1949年10月1日至1993年5月31日期间国产影片发行权,根据《中华人民共和国著作权法》的有关条款,结合实际情况,按以下办法处理:
(一)中影公司在1949年10月1日至1991年5月31日期间收购的国产影片:
1、中影公司与各制片厂没有签订合同或虽有合同但无具体合同期限约定的,其发行权均归还制片厂享有。
2、合同期限超过十年的(包括影片发行权永久性或一次性出售给中影公司的如《生死树》、《关键时刻》之类的影片),根据《中华人民共和国著作权法》合同的有效期限不超过十年的规定,从合同签订之日起按十年计算,合同期满后发行权归制片厂,必要时双方可以续订合同。
(二)《中华人民共和国著作权法》施行之日起,即1991年6月1日至1993年6月30日期间中影公司收购的国产影片:
1、电影公司与制片厂没有签订合同或虽有合同但无具体合同期限约定的,使用期限由双方协商确定。双方协商达不成一致意见的,其发行权均按五年处理,即从合同签订之日起(没有合同的可从拷贝开始发行之日算起)计算满五年的,发行权归还制片厂享有。
2、合同期限在十年之内的,按合同期限执行。
3、合同期限超过十年的,如《庭院深深》之类的影片,根据《中华人民共和国著作权法》合同的有效期限不超过十年的规定,从合同签订之日起按十年计算,合同期满后发行权应归制片厂,必要时双方可以续订合同。
(三)关于中影公司以录像带发行权、录像节目出版发行权、电视台播放权等其他形式使用电影作品,按以下办法处理:
1、中影公司与制片厂签订的合同中含有以其他形式使用电影作品的按合同规定执行,但合同有效期一次最多不超过十年。
2、对于中影公司已制成电影录像带成品,并已售与销售单位发生超过合同期限以及原合同中不包含以其他形式使用电影作品的情况,则仍由中影公司继续履行,并保证销售单位合法销售权利。但本规定实施后中影公司仍有销售收入的,应视为代理业务,由双方协商代理费用。双方协
商达不成一致意见的,中影公司的代理费按发行收入总额的15%提取,发行收入总额的85%归制片厂所有。
三、关于1993年6月30日之前出口的国产影片问题
(一)中影公司已与外商订立国产影片海外发行权合同的,应按原合同履行。中影公司作为原合同单位继续监督执行,合同期满后海外发行权归制片厂。
(二)出口的国产影片,超过与制片厂所签合同有效期的,在本规定实施之后,中影公司仍有销售收入的,应视为出口代理业务,海外收益分配按国家出口有关规定处理。
四、各省、自治区、直辖市和地、市、县电影发行公司库存影片拷贝的处理办法是:
(一)1949年10月1日1993年6月30日期间发行的国产库存影片拷贝和以其他形式使用电影作品的归属问题,均应按本规定执行。各发行、放映单位不得发行、放映超过合同期限的库存影片拷贝,亦不得以其他形式使用超过合同期限的库存电影作品。
(二)需要重新公映库存超过合同有效放映期的影片拷贝和以其他形式使用电影作品的各发行公司或影片拷贝持有者,应与制片厂重新签订协议。
(三)对不再重新放映的库存影片拷贝,需要报废提银或废胶片回收利用,各省、自治区、直辖市和地、市、县发行公司可直接与长春电影制片厂、北京电影洗印录像技术厂、上海电影技术厂联系收购办法,提取的白银应按国家有关规定售与中国人民银行,不得售与个人或其他单位。
(四)报废提银或回收利用而取得的经济效益全部归各有关省、自治区、直辖市和地、市、县公司所有。
五、中影公司、各省、自治区、直辖市和地、市、县发行公司、各制片厂要根据本规定加强合作,做好1949年10月1日至1993年6月30日期间各类影片发行权的清理工作。根据《中华人民共和国著作权法》,各制片单位和中影公司、各级电影发行公司要加强维护著作权的
工作,没有取得影片及其复制品发行权的单位和个人,均不得复制、出售、出租、出借和进行影院、电视的放(播)映活动。
六、各制片厂、中影公司、各发行公司、电影院今后使用电影作品、应严格遵照《中华人民共和国著作权法》签订合同。
七、请各省、自治区、直辖市文化厅(局)将本规定转发各级电影发行放映单位。本规定同时适用于中国人民解放军各部队、工会系统、教育系统等电影发行放映单位。
八、本规定自1994年10月16日起施行。在此之前所发布的有关行政规定和规章,凡与本规定相抵触的、均以本规定为准。
九、本规定由广播电影电视部电影局负责解释。

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