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23 June 2014

Chinese news app in copyright storm

A Chinese smartphone app that publishes news articles from a range of sources is being investigated for alleged copyright infringement.

The app, ‘Today’s Headlines’,has been the subject of “numerous complaints” from China’s traditional media outlets, China’s copyright watchdog has claimed.

Launched in 2012, the app aggregates news from major newspapers and arranges the articles according to readers’ interests.

Yu Cike, director of the National Copyright Administration’s (NCA) copyright management division, did not name the organisation’s that complained, but told the People’s Daily newspaper that there was concern over the “republishing” of articles.

He added that the NCA is conducting an investigation into the complaints and will deal with the situation according to the law.

‘Today’s Headlines’ has more than 90 million registered users and is owned by Beijing-based Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications.

The latest dispute is not the first time the app has run into trouble.

Earlier this month, The Beijing News, ran an editorial accusing it of stealing content.

Byte Dance’s co-founder Zhang Yining denied the allegations and said it had struck content sharing deals with many news organisations and asked other media outlets to make similar agreements.

The investigation comes at the beginning of a joint campaign by the government into online copyright infringement.

The campaign, as WIPR's sister publication TBO reported last week, began this month and will focus on tackling deceptive advertising online and shutting down websites that host illegal videos and music.

The initiative, which lasts from June to November, was launched jointly by the NCA alongside the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security.

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