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China is struggling amidst a deluge of pirated material

China insists that despite recent decisions, like its move to ban all U.S. movie imports, it remains firmly against piracy of copyrighted material. 

China's top officials say that the increased internet usage, not an intentionally lax legal atmosphere, are responsible for making the country likely the world's largest nation in terms of not only population but also pirated copyrighted materials.  These same officials suggest the adoption of harsher punishments to discourage pirates.

Yan Xiaohong, deputy head of the National Copyright Administration, says cases in 2007 of piracy of copyrighted material more than doubled by government statistics due to an explosion of new technology and usage.  This made for difficulties in regulating internet traffic.  He acknowledged at a press conference that preliminary punishment methods had failed to strike a decisive blow, stating, "Although our rectification campaigns have had obvious initial results, we must clearly recognise that there has been no sea change for the better in our nation's Internet copyright protection environment."

He stated that he firmly believes harsher financial penalties and harsher sentences need to be developed.  He states, "
As the situation is so serious we ought to give out heavier fines under the legal framework."

With 210 million internet users, China was second only to the U.S. in online population in 2007.  China's Xinhua news agency quoted industry sources stating that the nation will likely become the largest online population early in 2008.

Despite suffering from severe piracy, China does do a remarkable job regulating websites it feels inspire dissent.  A "Great Red Firewall" blocks users from such sites and alerts authorities of access attempts.  China plans to keep these efforts in place.

"We will put whatever police forces are needed into this," Deputy head of the Public Security Bureau's economic crimes division Gao Feng said, referring to internet "cleansing" plans for 2008, without further elaboration.

Sometimes the piracy and subversive materials boundaries overlap, for example in the case of Hong Kong and Taiwanese TV shows, which are among the most popular pirated items, but also are banned from national television by the government.

In an effort to curb rampant pornography viewing, China announced plans last month to only allow video content through sites which obtain state-issued licenses.  However, it has since offered virtually no details on this licensing, leaving many to wonder if it is even going to happen at all.

Chen Jiachun, vice-director of the Ministry of Information Industry's Telecom Management Bureau would only say, "We will choose an appropriate way to respond to questions from the media or society.  It will be very soon."

China's responses both illustrate an awareness about piracy, the reach of the internet, and also confusion about how to deal with it. This is something which troubles internet giants like Google, Yahoo, and Yahoo who depend on Chinese traffic and video content views.

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It's the **chance of getting caught** stupid!
By androticus on 1/17/2008 11:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
Studies and common sense have shown that the most significant deterrent to crime is not the severity of the penalty, but rather, the chance of getting caught. This is what makes "law and order/get tough on crime" conservatives so useless -- their biggest remedy for crime is making harsher penalties (including the death penalty.)

While I do believe that penalties for violating rights should be fairly harsh, probably harsher than today, the most important practical point is detection. Just look at how freely illegal drugs flow both in our country as well as to (and from) those with even harsher penalties.

If China **really** wanted to "get tough" on piracy (corruption, etc. etc.) it would stop its fairly useless "show executions" and instead focus on dramatically increasing the arrest and conviction rate. THOSE stats will tell us whether they are playing games or are sincere.

I get the impression that China doesn't give a damn about IP since very little of their economy makes it but almost everyone uses it -- so it makes sense that if they can get that free, then commercial productivity is increased and individual consumers have more to spend on other things, like other Chinese goods, etc.

By Christopher1 on 1/19/2008 5:55:27 AM , Rating: 1
Or, they could simply make the things in question legal, and not waste their time on them.

There comes a time in regards to 'vice' like drugs, child pornography, prostitution, etc. where you have to say, honestly, that you have absolutely FAILED in preventing them and that the only people who think that something is a vice anymore is someone with an agenda: i.e. the drug companies in the case of illegal drugs, the religious right in the case of prostitution, and the police, religious right, and psychologists who would lose out on money in the case of the first and last and on worshippers if we were to say that these things are not wrong anymore and treated the people who think there is something wrong with them as the ones with the problem.

There comes a time when you have to realize "Wait a minute.... there is no such thing as 'god' since we now know that we came about through evolution with no external interference whatsoever, so why should I not to these things that are harmful to no one (except when someone else fools them into thinking it is harmful or it is done to excess)?"

Like I have said many times before, in the case of drugs, child pornography and prostitution..... the number of people who do them, view it or make love with prostitutes makes it clear that a majority have decided that these things are not wrong..... especially in the case of the first and second there, with a estimated amount of 1 billion people in the world having done drugs at one time or right now, and an estimated 100 BILLION to 1 TRILLION views of the second every 3 months.

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