Online spoofs made just for fun may not necessarily face punishment, Yan Xiaohong, vice minister of the National Copyright Administration (NCA), said on Thursday.
If some online spoof made only for fun, and if all the people involved in the spoof do not mind, the spoof will not lead to punishment of the spoof makers, he said at a press conference on online piracy.
"But this does not mean we advocate online pranks," he said.
"If the spoof was made without the permission of copyright owners or infringed the rights of others, the victims can sue the spoof makers," he said.
"The court will decide whether the spoof makers should be punished according to Chinese law," he said.
Chinese Internet users aroused public interest in their online parodies in 2005 when a netizen named Hu Ge made an applause-winning short film spoofing Chinese director Chen Kaige's big-budget movie, The Promise.
Director Zhang Yimou's blockbuster "Curse of the Golden Flower" has also been the butt of online parodies.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2008)