Home  News | Press Conference | opinions | Photos | 11th Five-Year Plan  
Grass-roots protection "needed" for copyrights

  时间:2006-03-17 14:23    来源:     

China needs to strengthen grass-roots law enforcement forces to better fight infringements on copyrights, a senior copyright expert has warned.

The cream of copyright administrative staff is mainly at the national and provincial levels, whereas the enforcement on copyright in counties and townships, where the sales of pirated goods are more rampant, often suffers from a shortage of people, said Shen Rengan, a CPPCC member and former executive deputy director of the National Copyright Administration (NCA).

"The grass roots are the place where more law-enforcing forces should be devoted," he told China Daily.

Close co-ordination with other departments is also important, Shen said, noting that the law-enforcing mandate of the copyright administration alone is limited.

In most cases, he said, it takes joint work with business administrations and the police to secure successful and lawful raids on things such as pirate DVD vendors and underground manufacturers.

NCA statistics show local copyright administrations settled 49,983 cases from 1985 to 2004, with 349 million pirated copies of products confiscated. There were also 217 illegal disc assembly lines busted in the past decade.

The Internet recently became a focal point in the anti-piracy war. The NCA launched a special campaign against online piracy from September to December last year, closing 76 illicit websites, confiscating 405 servers used for piracy activities, ordering 137 websites to remove copyright-infringing contents, and transferred 18 suspected criminal cases to judicial departments.

The NCA also settled 14 major cases reported by overseas sources, which accounted for half of the major cases handled in the four months.

"The campaigns are important but not enough to eliminate copyright infringements, which require long-term and comprehensive efforts," said Shen.

Like many other countries plagued with copyright infringements, China needs to address the complicated factors behind them, including economic motivations and a lack of intellectual property awareness, Shen said.

"One thing clear is that China has zero tolerance of piracy and has been relentless in the war against infringements," he said.

Judicial interpretation

The Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly issued a judicial interpretation in late 2004 that substantially lowered the threshold of applying the criminal law's IPR infringement articles.

The interpretation made clear that offenders selling more than 250,000 yuan (US$30,000) worth of pirated or fake trademarked goods could face up to seven years in jail, a penalty equivalent to that for negligent homicide.

"It would be a major error to think China makes these anti-piracy efforts because of Western pressure," Shen said.

"Piracy thwarts the growth of intellectual property industries, causes the drain of taxation and in particular, challenges the country's pursuit of more innovation.

"It is a matter about China's fundamental interests."

Copyright China Taiwan Information Center