IP Protection

When "The Pacifier" was shown online by a Chinese website without permission, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA) complained to the National Copyright Administration of China last October.

The copyright agency then ordered www.116.com.cn to stop the piracy and fined it US$11,140.

The episode had a happy ending. And a top Chinese piracy buster yesterday promised copyright holders tough action a la Vin Diesel in the Hollywood action-comedy by improving legislation and international co-operation; and cracking down on rampant copyright violations on the Internet.

"We must be iron-handed and unremitting on the work (of clamping down on online piracy and copyright infringements)," said Yan Xiaohong, deputy chief of the national copyright watchdog.

"Our goal is to foster an environment instrumental to both safeguarding the rights of copyright holders and dissemination of their works."

A four-month campaign launched last September resulted in the shutdown of 76 websites and the handling of 172 cases, including 28 serious ones involving movies, music, games, books and software sold or shared illegally over the Internet.

International copyright holders and organizations reported half of the 28 serious cases, he said.

"The special operation has to some extent played a deterrent role in curbing Internet piracy and copyright violations," Yan said. "But one campaign cannot solve the problem."

Conceding Internet piracy was a global headache for which no panacea has been found even in developed countries, Yan said his agency is striving to develop an "enduring mechanism" to protect copyright on the Internet.

On the advice of his agency and the country's Internet associations, the State Council is expected to release landmark regulations on the rights of communication on the Internet this year.

The statute will pave the way for the country to sign the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty to help fight digital piracy, he said.

"We are considering collaborating with some leading world bodies and associations of copyright-holders, including the MPA and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, with which we are discussing law enforcement on the Internet and other co-operation," he said.

He said Chinese copyright monitors would be equipped with advanced search engines which will enable law-enforcers to get to know which music downloads are not authorized and where their servers are located.

Wang Bin, with the Internet Society of China, yesterday said that to curb Internet users' habitual downloads of pirated music, software and other products, it is important to technically enable copyright-holders to monitor use of the products and cut their sometimes unduly high price.

 

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