Skip to content Skip to navigation

Academic Events

Professor Zhiwen Liang Published an Article in the Current Issue of Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property



Professor Zhiwen Liang published an article in Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property (QMJIP) volume 6, issue 4, the article’s title is ‘Copyright works vs. the public domain: copyrightability requirements pertaining to the restoration and reconstitution of ancient books under Chinese judiciary opinions’. In his article, Professor Liang ‘considers further the relationship between cultural responsibility, preservation and intellectual property, all in the context of the rich intellectual history of ancient China. The author addresses the restoration of ancient Chinese books as a work of originality, raising significant questions about the scope, balance and responsibilities of copyright in the context of preservation as well as innovation, and the interaction between investment, cultural preservation and the public interest.’

QMJIP is the IP journal included in the Social Sciences Citation Index. As an extension of the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute's reputation as one of the foremost centers for intellectual property research and education, QMJIP has become an important forum for quality scholarship in this field, publishing full-length articles as well as analysis pieces and case reports, on a quarterly basis. QMJIP is overseen by Editor in Chief, Professor Johanna Gibson (Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Director of QMIPRI) and Consultant Editor Lord Hoffmann (former judge of the House of Lords and Honorary Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London). [About the Journal, available at: ]

The following is the abstract of the article:


Ancient China has rich classic works. The arrangement, restoration and reconstitution of ancient books preserves Chinese traditional culture; and this involves intellectual skill, judgment and labour as well as painstaking research by specialists. Numerous cases involving the restoration and reconstitution of ancient books are brought to China's courts. The specific legal issues concerning whether the restoration and reconstitution of ancient books in the public domain is copyrightable raise questions about originality, the idea/expression dichotomy and merger doctrine. Although the arrangement of ancient works (raw materials selected, commented on or translated into modern Chinese by the specialist) can be considered as derivative works, the dianjiao edition of ancient works (raw materials selected, corrected, reconstituted and punctuated by the specialist) is necessarily dependent on the fact of whether the nature of the process of restoring and reconstituting ancient works exhibits originality. In order to encourage investment, the interests of the adapter of the ancient books must be protected in a proper manner. Protection of scientific editions of non-copyright texts, which are protected under the German Copyright Act, is not provided by the Chinese Copyright Act. However, the interest of adapters of ancient books is protected as a legal interest (not a legal right) by the Chinese judiciary.


The article can be available at: