Chinese are willing to pay for online content, showing their readiness to protect copyright online, experts said.
"The market for paid online content just started in China and shows remarkable growth. ... Without copyright protection, paying for content would no longer exist, particularly when large scale pirating occurs," said Lyu Benfu, a professor specialized in online economy at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
Netizens are increasingly willing to pay for valuable content.
"Five years ago, it was almost free to listen to music online. Nearly all music websites were free. I had no idea that what I downloaded was pirated copies, which harmed my favorite singers' intellectual property," said Zhang Hui, a magazine editor in Shanghai.
As a magazine editor, Zhang has sometimes been upset to find her articles being stolen online. But previously, it rarely occurred to her that she was encouraging copyright infringement by never paying to read or listen to music online.
"I do now," she said.
Zhang is not the only one to raise copyright protection awareness in China.
A recent study by iResearch, a Beijing-based consulting firm, showed that nearly half of Chinese netizens are willing to pay or have paid for online content, compared with 30 percent in 2014.
"Valuable content created by scholars, scientists and artists was published online for free in the past. But in recent years, more and more people have started to believe they should pay for access to that content.
"So, many websites have created platforms to collect payment," said Xiang Songzuo, deputy director of the International Monetary Institute at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
"It will be an inevitable trend. Knowledge, especially high-quality knowledge, should command a good price. ... Authors will pay more attention to their content when it costs money to access. It is mutually beneficial. Consumers willingly pay for high-quality content. Authors will be encouraged to create better content," he said.
Some new technology prevents digital content infringement online.
"Suizhi uses a new technology involving code and digital copyright technologies to prevent online infringement. The company has obtained seven patents. Digital content including video, audio and text files can be sold at a certain price. Payment is for one copy. The new technology helps turn knowledge into money," said Liu Tongpeng, founder of Suizhi.com, an e-commerce content website.
Suizhi allows authors to upload their works and sell their knowledge at a certain price.