Judicial Interpretation No. 20 [2012] of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in Hearing Civil Dispute Cases Involving Infringement of the Right of Dissemination on Information Networks, December 17, 2012 [English Version]

Document type
Court Decision
This Judicial Interpretation provides the detailed rules on deciding Internet intermediary’s liability for copyright infringement.
(1) First, whether an Internet intermediary ought to be liable mainly depends whether it is at fault for the copyright infringement in question. In light of Article 8, the fault means Internet intermediaries actually know or should know the copyright infringement concerned.
(2) Second, the Judicial Interpretation (Article 8) clarifies that Internet intermediaries have no obligation to actively monitor their services, and if they have already taken reasonable and effective technical measures but still could not know the infringement, they should not be held as being at fault.
(3) Third, regarding what constitutes “should know”, the Judicial Interpretation (Article 9, 10 and 12) enumerates several factors for lower courts to comprehensively assess when deciding Internet Intermediaries’ liability.
(4) Fourth, with regard to the benefits made by Internet intermediaries, the Judicial Interpretation differentiates between direct benefits and indirect benefits (Article 11). If an Internet intermediary receive direct benefits from infringing materials, it ought to undertake higher level of duty of care to its user’ conducts.
(5) Fifth, regarding notice-and-takedown procedure, the Judicial Interpretation lists several factors for lower courts to decide what constitutes “expeditiously remove” (Article 14).
(6) Sixth, the Judicial Interpretation brings in inducement infringement. According to Article 7, where an Internet intermediary induces or encourages Internet users to infringe others’ copyright by delivering words, offering technical support, or rewarding credits, it shall be concluded to have committed inducing infringements.
Topic, claim, or defense
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Highest Domestic/National (including State) Court
Type of service provider
Internet Access Provider (Including Mobile)
OSP obligation considered
Monitor or Filter
Block or Remove
Type of law
General effect on immunity
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Knowledge (Includes Notice and Takedown)