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China takes action on IP piracy.


As President Hu Jintao meets with his U.S. counterpart, China has started a campaign to protect copyright in books, music, DVDs and software.  The Ministry of Public Security’s Economic Crimes Investigation Bureau says it has uncovered more than 2,000 cases in recent weeks and arrested more than than 4,000 people.   The Bureau’s deputy director, Gao Feng, valued the cases at  2.3 billion yuan (about AUD 345 million).  The numbers of arrests, cases and financial value represent  a threefold increase over last year .  Reuters reports that he states “On one hand they demonstrate the achievements we’ve made in cracking down on the violation of intellectual property rights, on the other hand it also indicates that violations are still quite rampant and frequent.   So we want to introduce heavier punishments.”

China’s traditionally lax enforcement  is one item on the agenda in trade talks between U.S.  and Chinese Presidents.  The International Intellectual Property Alliance estimates U.S. trade losses to IP piracy  during 2009 was USD 3.5 billion.  80 percent of the fake clothing, pirate videos and other goods seized each year by U.S. customs come from China.  During a recent trip to Shanghai, I saw pirated goods widely available on Chinese streets, sometimes under  billboards denouncing IP infringement.  China must take sustained efforts to stamp out breaches of copyrights and trademarks if it wants to cement its position in the global economy.


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