Tuesday, November 14, 2006

China pressured to stop piracy

US Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez has pressured Chinese authorities to clampdown on pirated DVDs in an effort to reduce effects of intellectual property rights infringement. Gutierrez praised the Chinese leadership for tackling the problem adding that it was “a large problem for all parties”. $2.4 billion per year is lost by US companies due to piracy in China, according to a report on CNN today. It is an issue which has been brewing for a long time and prompted some companies to take actions themselves. Warner Brothers are set to release a Mandarin version of the new Superman film on DVD in China ahead of the rest of the world [BBC]. Fox has also made attempts to thwart the pirates by releasing cheaper DVDs [English Peoples Daily]. According to the agreement, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will distribute its products through Zoke's extensive national network, and supply China's growing home entertainment market with recent releases as well as celebrated films from the studio's vast library. But the efforts may well fall flat on Chinese consumers. A Chinese worker often earns less than $200 a month and pirate DVDs offer value for money at less than the equivalent of $2 each. Beijing is said to be clamping down on ‘serious violators’ but according to CNN, this move is only forcing many vendors underground. Liu Binjie, Press and Publication ADM, said that there needed to be more education in schools about intellectual property rights. “We will also educate the general public to help them realize that buying pirated goods is wrong”. Frank Hawke highlighted the danger that pirated goods could pose to the public. “They will move from luxury goods and DVDs and CDs into pharmaceuticals, chemical intermediates, food additives electronics, electric products and these are products where you have serious safety issues.”
The risk to China’s economy is very real. According to Carlos Gutierrez, “China is evolving and moving towards an innovation economy, and I know there is a vision President Hu [Jintao] has laid out for an innovation society, and you can’t be an innovation society if you can’t have an innovation society when you can have of intellectual property rights protected”.
But it will be an uphill struggle to see off the vendors of pirate DVDs. And whilst Beijing is seeing a clampdown, in other provinces DVDs are sold openly in shops and on the streets. Posted by Picasa

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