Chinese Internet Court Uses Blockchain To Combat Online Plagiarism

An Internet Court launched in Eastern Chinese City Hangzhou will now use blockchain to fight plagiarism for online writers, local Chinese news outlet China.org.cn reported. China launched its first internet court in the city of Hangzhou to deal with internet related cases, save time and reduce overhead costs of getting justice out of the system.

At the time of the launch, the court was expected to accept court filings and cases electronically and given the mandate to rule online cases via live stream. Plaintiffs may verify their identity with a government-issued ID or through their Alipay account.

The Hangzhou Internet Court operates as an incubator for the governance of the internet space in China to settle “diversified Internet disputes, and a ‘first mover’ for the transformation of Internet trials.”

Hangzhou has a large percentage of online writers in China. The Binjiang District of the city has a “writers’ village,” which is home to over a hundred popular online writers. These writers have had issues with piracy over the years, and it has become increasingly challenging for them to prove their ownership of any piece of work. The report stated that while these writers used to resort to downloaded content and screenshots as proof of ownership, these pieces of ‘proof’ can easily be forged, making them ineffective as evidence.

From netcourt.gov.cn

Court To Use Blockchain Evidence in Copyright Infringement Cases

The expense of legal services and notary fees also make it difficult for writers to pursue justice against those who infringe on their copyright, the report argued. However, the Hangzhou Internet Court believes that it is nearly impossible to tamper with evidence that is logged on a distributed ledger or blockchain, “due to its decentralized and open distributed ledger technology.”

Wang Jiangqiao, who works as a judge at the court, was of the opinion that blockchain is beneficial to writers due to its tamper-proof nature, which gives it the ability to “track “authorship, time of creation, content, and evidence of infringement.”

A few weeks ago, the Hangzhou Internet Court became the first court in China to recognize blockchain technology as a means of storing evidence. The decision stemmed from a case in which the plaintiff, a company based in Hangzhou, sued the defendant, a Shenzhen-based tech firm, or making publications of the plaintiff’s copyrighted material on its official website.

The plaintiff captured the webpage of the defendant as well as the source code, and uploaded them to the Bitcoin blockchain. After investigations were concluded, the Hangzhou Internet Court maintained that this form of electronic data would henceforth serve as a form of evidence in copyright infringement cases.

China has used the blockchain in other areas of law enforcement in recent times.