We stick to the principle that "the operation is of utmost importance." We introduced the FMP publishing solution, and start from the sharing of content sources and user sources. We build up management platforms at both ends of the distribution chain of the digital publishing industry. We categorize the content into user groups, and tap and spread user data in ways that are interconnected. We push the right content to the right reader, and go to meet the needs of different reader communities.
ChineseAll (www.ChineseAll.com) is a pioneer in the online publishing sector of China with major advantages in the eBook content. It owns the most extensive volume of authorized eBooks and is the only existing digital publisher recognized by the National Copyright Administrative Authority.
Through frequent actions in the digital publishing area in recent years, it has effectively integrated its content sources by initiating the Federated Media Publishing (FMP) mode in China. It has continuously improved its operational support system, advocating that "the operation is of utmost importance". With a mission to "pass on civilization in digital form", it dedicates itself to being a world-wide leader in the Chinese digital publishing industry.
China IP interviewed Tong Zhilei, Chairman and President of ChineseAll, three years ago. Since then great changes have taken place in the ecological environment for copyright in China. In light of these changes our journalist conducted a second interview with Mr. Tong, hoping to obtain a wider and deeper understanding on the current status of the digital publishing sector, projections on what the future holds and insight into the major areas and difficulties in digital copyright protection.
|Tong Zhilei, Chairman and President of ChineseAll
"The Operation is of Utmost Importance"
China IP: What unique advantages does ChineseAll have, as it has matured to become a leader in the cut-throat competition world of the copyright sector?
Tong: I think, compared with our peers, we have five advantages:
First, we have a content advantage. We have maintained a large number of content sources, including more than 400 publishers, more than 2,000 well-known writers, and more than 100,000 online writers. With their legal authorizations, we can supply to the market with 70,000 to 100,000 eBooks every year, accounting for 30%-50% of the published (paper) books market, or 70% of the mass (paper) books market.
Second is the advantage of effective risk management. The publishing sector is concerned with ideology, which disseminates culture and passes on civilization. Therefore, the content published is critical. ChineseAll has always been particularly focused on the management and risk control of the content. It manages content through a process of content collection, copyright approving, technical scanning, manual reviewing, and planning and marketing.
Also, it has created a mode where the machine-based content is read by people, and the proofreading and editing are done electronically. This mode uses a keyword filter to filter out an article systematically, and then a professional editor reads through the entire article. It strictly controls the content against to screen out unwanted messages or unauthorized material.
Third is the advantage of copyright protection. We follow the requirements of the Copyright Law throughout our operation. We obtain the authorization from rights owners before disseminating their works. We act in strict compliance with the authorization, and exploit digital copies of the works in a reasonable and legal manner.
Fourth is the distribution channel advantage. We have created the Federated Media Publishing (FMP) mode in China, which covers such channels as mobile phones, the Internet, digital libraries, mobile reader terminals, audio/visual terminals, and paper books. The same content is published throughout multiple media channels synchronously, which helps to maximize the copyright in 3-dimensional marketing communication.
Fifth is the technical advantage. We have a complete FMP support framework, and an FMP publishing platform. We have also a well-developed technical support system for digital content, covering business operation management, system operation management, customer service, and risk control, in harmony with the IT operation and maintenance rules. In respect to copyright protection, we own DRM (digital rights management) technologies.
China IP: You have always said that, in the digital publishing sector, to place the hardware before the content is to put the cart before the horse. Could you explain your understanding of this issue?
Tong: With digital publishing, the content is published through mobile phones, the Internet, and mobile reader terminals. With the development of new technologies and new media, new reader terminals have continued to emerge, such as handheld readers, XPAD, and others. Despite their differences, they work to present the content and meet the reading needs of different readers under different conditions.
The hardware makes it easier to acquire information. Digital media equipment comes handy, and is smaller, more open and more interactive. It has the favor of the people. However, a user uses a digital reader terminal to consume content. Today, in the reading environment, technology is the means while content is the ends and most essential element. So, to place the hardware before the content means to place the cart before the horse. The thriving digital publishing sector depends on the sufficient involvement of content providers, and the adequate attention of hardware suppliers to enable authorized digital sources.
China IP: Today, content homogenization has become a major issue for the publishing sector. What's your viewpoint about this phenomenon? What competitive strategy or operational thinking does ChineseAll have in dealing with it?
Tong: Today, in China, with the rapid development of the copyright industry, a huge amount of content and more diversified channels have emerged. More content products mean more choices to the public, and the homogenization of some of them is a representation of the IT industry that is rapidly developing. In this environment, the copyright industry has a huge amount of content upstream, and numerous users and wide channels downstream, and the content and the channels are linked up through operations. So, we believe that posting the marketable content at the right time through the best channels comes down to efficiently managed operations. Only through effective operations can we provide the best content to the readers with the highest demand in an efficient manner; we must provide content at the best time and price, using the best marketing approach.
To accomplish this, we have developed a competitive strategy and operational thinking. We stick to the principle that "the operation is of utmost importance." We introduced the FMP publishing solution, and start from the sharing of content sources and user sources. We build up management platforms at both ends of the distribution chain of the digital publishing industry. We categorize the content into user groups, and tap and spread user data in ways that are interconnected. We push the right content to the right reader, and go to meet the needs of different reader communities.
About FMP Publishing
China IP: ChineseAll utilizes "Federated Media Publishing." How can you help the public understand the internal meaning of this FMP mode?
Tong: The internet and communication technologies have developed, and the needs and habits of readers have changed. Publishing has extended from the paper book publishing to Internet publishing and mobile phones publishing. Our business mode is defined as the Federated Media Publishing (FMP) mode, covering all publishing channels. Specifically, with respects to books, we combine the traditional publishing of paper books with the publishing of their digital versions on mobile phones, the Internet, digital libraries, mobile reader terminals, and audio/visual terminals. This effective integration of the available resources means to publish the content on all media synchronously.
The FMP mode focuses on synchronous publishing through multiple channels. That is, first it has a time dimension; to be synchronous. Second it has a channel dimension; to publish books through multiple channels or vehicles so that any user can obtain any content at any time or place and in any way. FMP has changed the traditional model of single dissemination, and the effective integration of resources diversifies the disseminating mode. It maximizes the copyright value by spreading information to a wider range of end users and by communicating brands in more concrete ways.
Now, we have launched a number of books by means of FMP, including If You are the One; Slumdog Millionaire; A Life of Miracles; I Have a Little Brother Called Shunliu; It's Time for the Poor; Love and Thrive; A Man Loved Me as His Life; Bodyguards and Assassins; Confucius; US Dollars, the Paper Money; The Spring of Li Chuntian; The Lost Bladesman and more.
China IP: How does this model position a publishing project physically? What are the flow processes?
Tong: We search and identify excellent writers and works, and enter into copyright transactions, by sufficiently using ChineseAll.com, 17K.com, and other sites of the content alliance. Those valuable works from online or offline channels are then screened and edited by our editors. They are referred to relevant publishers, and we enter into a copyright transaction with the publishers. Now we have established strategic cooperative relationships with some well-known Chinese publishers, including the People's Literature Publishing House, the Writers Publishing House, the Yangtze River Literature Publishing House, Iron Publishing Inc., Booky Publishing Inc., Fenghong Media Co., Ltd., Chinese World Co., Ltd., Yueduji Co., Ltd., Liaoning Publishing Group, Chongqing Publishing Group, Gobooks Publishing Group (Taiwan), and Myfreshnet. In recent years, with the scaling up of copyright trade, we have published more than 300 books in simplified or traditional Chinese, covering all types of fictional works, and including such bestsellers as The Sui Dynasty and Chaos; The Secret Dossiers; The Wolves; The King of Tomb Raiders; Killing the Dragon; Moonlighting; The King of Fortunetellers; The Phoenix Mask; and Blasphemy. We have been one of the best suppliers of original literary content in China.
China IP: What services does ChineseAll provide with respects to wireless reading and internet reading?
Tong: ChineseAll and China Mobile have signed a strategic cooperation agreement, by which ChineseAll becomes a partner of China Mobile in the operation of the latter's mobile phone books base. ChineseAll has made great contributions to the mobile reading services of China Mobile. It integrates its advantageous sources, and its purpose is to serve mobile readers and boost China Mobile. It goes out to build the largest Chinese wireless reading platform in the world.
As a pioneer to charging for viewing authorized works, it launched 17K.com in May 2006—a story site for wireless readers. This site combines writing and reading with copyright trading. To encourage people to read authorized works, it interacts with approximately 1,000 Internet portals, including People.com and Yahoo! China, to jointly build an Internet-based reading platform. It now has a collection of 200,000 volumes of books. It has signed contracts with about 2,000 famous writers and more than 100,000 online authors, and cooperates with more than 400 publishers. With a daily average traffic volume of more than 20 million visitors, it has been the largest leading online reading service provider in China.
Moreover, ChineseAll is characterized by its institutional reader service. During the ten years of digital publishing, it has contracted a number of large governmental projects, public reader service projects, and the digital projects of publishing corporations. In April 2009, with the theme to "contribute to the reading for all and welcome the new time of federated media reading," the Web of Online Reading for All (www.chineseall. org), as constructed by ChineseAll, was launched, to formally provide digital reading services and referral services to outsiders. The site reports the reading-for-all programs and activities jointly sponsored by 11 ministries, including the CPC Central Propaganda Ministry and the General Administration of Press and Publication. It also provides easy, fast and low-cost digital reading services to governmental offices, institutions and enterprises, and social communities.
The Scented Chinese Books (www.chineseall.cn) provides one-stop reading services, and is one of the most popular digital publishing achievements. The site offers all organizations and individual readers with personalized intelligent online libraries and book channels. It is unique for its interactivity, motivation and self service. It helps schools, institutions and enterprises, and corporations to easily build their own knowledge centers or reading centers that are wall-less, low-cost, healthy and legal, and that can be updated in real time. It effectively disseminates mainstream books to a wider range of users and at a faster speed. It promotes the utilization of IT infrastructures. It acts as a main support to the spreading of the mainstream culture. With positive comments from the General Administration of Press and Publication, it now covers about 10,000 schools and hundreds of institutions and enterprises and online book stores. It has also gone into public libraries and colleges and universities in both China and foreign countries to spread the excellent Chinese culture to the rest of the world. Now, as an organic part of the "reading for all" project, it has been the No.1 brand in the area of digital library construction for educational institutions in China. On the platform, it has branches developed in Jiangsu, Shanghai and Fujian.
China IP: According to your advertising materials, "ChineseAll launched the website ‘Love to Read' (www.aikanshu.net) in April—the most professional Chinese eBook portal in the world." What aspects of the site can be deemed as "the most professional… in the world"?
Tong: In April, we launched "Love to Read", to provide authorized digital content and solutions to well-known handheld reader suppliers and tablet PC manufacturers in China. It is characterized as follows:
First, it has large volumes of authorized content sources. Backed by ChineseAll, the Love to Read site has obtained authorizations from more than 400 publishers, 2,000 writers, and more than 100,000 online authors. In addition to books, it will include more magazines and audible books to diversify its content and meet the requirements of different mobile terminal users in an all-round way.
Second, it has the most comprehensive total solution to handheld reading ser vices. ChineseAll integrates the firms upstream and downstream on the chain of handheld readers. It provides total solutions customizable to the requirements of handheld equipment suppliers, with respects to content sources, the development of downloading platforms for the Internet and Mobile Internet, online service platform, client customization, industrial sales, operator cooperation, and cooperation in book card products. "The Love to Read" has established in-depth cooperation with Apple, Motorola, Foxconn, Hanvon, Newman, eBen, Aigo, OPPO, BenQ, ASUS, Malata, Zhenhong, Iriver, Sibrary, Readers, Xinhua News Agency, Travel Star, GuangxunTong, and Kesheng. Its content has been embedded to nearly 80% of the electronic readers in China. The recently launched LePad of Lenovo, Eeepad of ASUS, and Zpad of Malata have built in content and digital reading solutions of that site.
Third, it was the first open hosting platform for third-party applications in China. "The Love to Read" site is also the first open hosting platform for third-party applications in China. It can be used on various handheld terminals, and supports the mainstream EPUB format. It realizes compatible conversions and connects seamlessly with mobile terminals. With its DRM solution built into mobile readers, hardware users may directly download authorized electronic content from the site. Up to now, it has been the most professional in respects to hardware compatibility and coverage.
Fourth, it provides clients better mobile reading experiences. The Love to Read site provides users with clients for iPad and Android compatibility so that users can download the applications and read books on more movable reading devices. It satisfies the mobile needs to the maximum extent.
Total Protection of Intellectual Property Right
China IP: What role do you think intellectual property plays in the creative cultural industry?
Tong: Intellectual property is an important intangible asset of a company, and the intellectual capital is an important form of intangible capital. ChineseAll has always been focused on intellectual property. I think that it is essential to companies, particularly to those in the creative cultural industry. We have taken various measures to protect our intellectual property rights.
China IP: What about the processes utilized by ChineseAll to manage intellectual property rights?
Tong: Since our inception, we have persisted in the principle that we must obtain authorization from rights owners before disseminating their works. We respect intellectual property rights, and protect authorized works. We have a complete set of copyright processes and a system where copyrights are managed and controlled both internally and externally. We have strict rules and flow processes governing the warehousing, sorting, editing, processing and outgoing of copyrighted works.
China IP: Has ChineseAll ever been the victim of infringement of its intellectual property rights? Has it been involved in litigations? Could you describe any case that is most impressive to you?
Tong: There are many instances in this respect. Among them, the case of Bangbang on the wireless network, known as the No.1 case of wireless network infringement, started the copyright protection campaign on the wireless network. In May 2006, ChineseAll sued the owner of wap.81088. com (Bangbang), Beijing Tianxing Yuanjing Technology Development Co., Ltd., and the operator, Beijing Bangbang Network Technology Co., Ltd., complaining that the two companies provided on the mobile site the concerned works for viewing by their users online without authorization from ChineseAll, and that their behaviors infringed the right of ChineseAll to disseminate such works on networks and the right to remuneration from such works. The concerned works included The Red Prescription, Saving Breasts, and An Anthology of Bi Shumin, which are works of Bi Shumin, the total word count of which was 2.2 million. They also included Talk and Talk to Love, and Talk and Talk to Love II, which are works of Xu Yi, the total word count of which was 270,000. Thereafter, another 9 works of Yu Qiuyu, Chi Li and other writers were found to be infringed, and we brought another action against the defendants. Finally, we settled the Bangbang case under the mediation by the court. The defendant Beijing Tianxing Yuanjing Technology Development Co., Ltd. paid ChineseAll a total of RMB 215,000. It was the first lawsuit in China against a mobile site for infringement of the right to dissemination on information networks.
China IP: As the secretary general of both the Chinese Online Anti-Piracy Union and the Anti-Piracy Committee of the Copyright Society of China, what achievements has ChineseAll made in promoting copyright protection?
Tong: In May 2005, with great support from the National Copyright Administration and the Publishers Association of China, ChineseAll, together with the most well-known publishers and writers, and over ten law firms, founded the Chinese Online Anti-Piracy Union. Now the Union has a nationwide network of lawyers with centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Chengdu. In October 2006, the Anti-Piracy Committee of the Copyright Society of China moved its office of secretary general to ChineseAll. Now, the Committee and the Union, as the strongest anti-piracy organizations in China, join hands to enlarge their actions against piracies.
Since its inception, with the principle to respect knowledge and protect copyrights online, the Union has taken various means to protect intellectual property rights in digital works and to develop the digital market of authorized works. It has made a number of major achievements, including more than 400 lawsuits and involving more than 4,000 works. The sites which have been sued for infringing included some top names in the Internet industry. Because of its actions, some concerned sites have rearranged their book channels, and removed works with undefined copyright ownership. Some smaller sites even closed down their book channels, knowing the serious consequences of copyright infringement. As a great promoter of eBook copyright on wired networks, the Union has been an important channel for rights owners to claim their rights, and for the national crackdown on infringements and piracies on information networks.
China IP: What are the main tasks of the Union now and in the future? Are there any specific plans or goals?
Tong: The Union will further integrate sources to our advantage, including sites, rights owners, lawyers nationwide, and administrative enforcement networks, to join up and use our legal weapons against network-based piracies and infringements. We will focus on the wired/wireless Internet, databases, and other online products and channels, and try every means possible, technical, civil or legal. We will build up an actionable mechanism where piracies can be discovered out in a timely manner, the information fed back quickly, and the crackdown enforced effectively. Next, we will introduce our total protection project, including the 100 Writers Scheme and the 100 Publishers Scheme, and enlarge the scope of protection from eBooks to audio/visual products.
China IP: Behind the continuous success, have you had difficulties or faced confusion with respect to intellectual property rights?
Tong: China has enhanced i t s protection over intellectual property rights in recent years. It initiated the State Intellectual Property Strategy Program in 2008. The State Intellectual Property Office has battled against copyright infringements on networks for 6 years consecutively, and in particular, the Network Sword in 2010 was very powerful. There are a good many achievements in the protection of intellectual property rights. However, we still have some outstanding issues, mainly in two areas:
First is the issue of judicial criteria for indemnification. Currently, a court may determine how to compensate for the infringement of network copyright by referring to the loss of the rights owner, the gains of the infringer, or at the judges' own discretion. Generally, the award is given on the basis of the royalty. However, as a matter of fact, a pirate site may contain thousands of unauthorized works, and very few, if any of the rights owners are willing to really go out and sue it. If the penalty imposed on the site is only equal to the loss in royalties for the infringed work, the penalty will be insufficient to serve as a warning or deterrent. We think that the judiciary should work with administrative departments and deal with infringing sites on a case-by-case basis. It should award punitive damages and take other measures to protect the rights owners in a comprehensive fashion.
On the other hand, some new forms of unauthorized dissemination have appeared, such as, the Literary Base of Baidu. They have, by their very nature, seriously affected the essential benefits to rights owners.
(Translated by Ren Qingtao)