Copyright, fan generated contents, and open society in China: Towards an open innovation mechanism of copyrighted contents with fans

Tianxiang He

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Fighting piracy seems to be the major mission of copyright in the digital era. Most fan creations are unauthorized, thus they are potential copyright infringements in China, the U.S., and Japan, if charges are filed. However, despite their legal nature, many copyright owners in China, the U.S., and Japan are actually tolerating them, as fan culture has long been an integral part of copyright-related business and fan activities and creations can bring copyright owners merits. Moreover, besides economic benefits, many online fan activities have the potential to promote civic engagement as well. Considering the endemic problems that foreign copyright owners in the Chinese market face such as strict cultural censorship and import quota limits, they may find fan activities and creations extremely helpful in terms of market cultivation and promoting an open society in China, which in turn could bring a steady income in the long run. Compared with the current approach which treats fan utilizations as theft, copyright owners and the lawmakers should distinguish fan creators from commercial pirates, and unleash the potential of this kind of creators.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Kamperman Sanders, Anselm, Supervisor
  • Quintela Ribeiro Neves Ramalho, Ana, Co-Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Jul 2016
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789462954458
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • piracy
  • copyright
  • fair use
  • fan creativity
  • civic engagement

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