Protect gaokao candidates’ rights

After the conclusion of this year’s college entrance examination, or gaokao, many media outlets have published complete compositions of some students. The public, especially those preparing for the next year’s gaokao, will benefit from the reports, but it seems the media have ignored the issue of copyright protection, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:By publishing the compositions, the media may help other students improve their scores. But isn’t it a violation of copyright rules? The candidates or their statutory guardians have the legal right over the publication, revision and communication of their compositions, and should be duly paid for their publication. The media outlets have no right to publish them without the consent of and paying the candidates who composed those articles.Some believe that the copyright of articles in examinations have nothing to do with students. The fact is that, even though the students wrote them to get high scores and clear the gaokao, they own the rights to the compositions. According to China’s copyright law, the author owns the copyright to his/her creation irrespective of whether it is published or not. Moreover, the author has the right to decide whether or not to publish his/her creation. If other parties publish it without authorization, they violate the copyright law.The media outlets have committed another error by not publishing the names of the candidates who wrote the compositions. The notice that the authors of the compositions can contact the media outlets to get paid if their works are collected and published in book form doesn’t help much in protecting the copyright law.Thanks to the power of the Internet, the compositions can spread across the country in no time and change form and content with each posting, which can further harm the authors’ legal rights. It’s thus time the authorities took foolproof measures to protect gaokao candidates and their compositions from being used to make money or earn undue credit.The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.(China Daily 06/25/2014 page9)