[photopress:china_piracyafp203.jpg,full,alignright]The National Copyright Administration (NCA), which is involved in China’s intellectual property rights, feels it has launched a successful campaign to contain DVD and CD piracy. This is probably true. At the very least you can say that it has been driven underground. And that is about as much as you can say for any country.
Now it is moving on to illegal downloads of films, music, software and textbooks, which have been described as ‘rampant.’
Again, this is true. But it would be wrong to think that it is only rampant in China. There is almost no country where this does not go on in a major way.
Long Xinmin, head of the National Copyright Administration (NCA), which, along with the ministries of Public Security and Commerce has launched a three-month campaign, said, ‘International Property infringements on the Internet not only violate the interests of copyright holders but also stain the country’s reputation globally.’
This is, perhaps, going too far. No country is totally clear of such infringements. It is merely a matter of degree.
The IPR watchdog has vowed to clamp down on major websites that offer unauthorized downloads. Of course, it has no authority to deal with foreign websites offering illegal material but it can go for local sites that offer either links outside the country or unauthorized downloads.
According to Wang Ziqiang, head of the NCA’s copyright management department, the administration collaborated with major IPR protection associations in China to collect evidence for 302 Internet IPR infringement cases during a one-month investigation.
Wang Ziqiang said, ‘The number is double that of last year, which means that Internet copyright infringement is still rampant.’ As it is throughout the world.
Of the 302 cases involving 31 regions, 123 are about software IPR infringement, followed by films and music. Most are in developed areas such as Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang Province.
Copyright holders and IPR experts unite in say administrative punishment alone is not enough.
Xu Li, deputy general manager of Beijing-based Huayi Brothers Film Investment Co, the country’s biggest private film-maker and a victim of IPR infringement said, ‘The campaign will help reduce IPR violations to some extent. But instead of periodic clampdowns, we need a consistent effort from officials and the awareness and cooperation of both netizens and website operators.’
Xu Li made the intelligent suggestion that, considering the strong demand for online content, filmmakers could consider authorizing downloads from legal websites. However, few film companies in the US or China bother to offer online versions of their products due to low profit margins. Which is the root cause of the problem — profit margins. As matters stand in the United States only about 200 movies can hope to go on general release which means that 90 percent go straight to DVD. If that market is damaged making movies, ever a precarious occupation, becomes a loss operation.
Jiang Zhipei, president of the IPR Court at the Supreme People’s Court, said, ‘IPR infringement cases in the virtual world are hard to supervise. Some of them involve foreign websites. Netizens also have difficulty distinguishing legal websites from illegal ones. So it is a long battle requiring cooperation from both netizens, website operators and sound legal and administrative backup.’
Source: China Daily
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