IPR campaign spreads to target online piracy

08:28, January 17, 2011      

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The campaign to protect Internet intellectual property rights (IPR) will be expanded this year by targeting online piracy, a senior official said.

The Internet has become a major battleground for the country's IPR protection campaign, and the legal system must catch up, Wang Ziqiang, spokesman for the National Copyright Administration, told China Daily.

The rapid development of computer technology, which outpaces changes in the legal system, poses a severe challenge to fighting IPR online violation, Wang said.

"It is vital to protect online IPR. If not, the traditional press, the publication industry, movies and music will face severe threats from online 'theft' if everyone goes online to get free material," he said.

The number of Internet users in China hit 450 million at the end of November, up more than 20 percent year-on-year, official figures show.

Only if everyone respects authors' IPR in the real and virtual worlds can the cultural and creative industries see sustainable and booming development, Wang said.

China has already updated legislation to fight piracy and protect online IPR.

Last Tuesday, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security issued a document concerning IPR violation, including evidence collection, standard penalties and estimating transaction value.

The document said convictions for IPR violation will occur if someone puts another person's work, including print, music, film, TV, photos, videos, records or software on the Internet for profit without the approval of the copyright holder, and where one of the following conditions apply: a transaction value of more than 50,000 yuan ($7,567); more than 500 pieces of work; online hits reach 50,000; or the number of registered members reaches more than 1,000 if membership is required.

The new document and the government's crackdown will see a decrease in Internet IPR violation cases, Wang said.

Of the 55 major IPR violation cases announced recently, 34 involved Internet IPR, which shows the Internet has become a major battleground, Wang added.

Statistics from the State Intellectual Property Office show the number of online IPR violation cases in 2009 made up about 50 percent of the total number of copyright cases.

In early January, the culture bureau in Southwest China's Guizhou province detected www.mtvtop.net, an online music download website offering more than 60,000 albums with more than 710,000 songs, most of which involved IPR violation.

The draft of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) said a digital IPR protection system will be developed and gradually promoted across the country.

China's copyright law was first launched in 1990. It covered Internet IPR in 2001, while stiffer punishment for online IPR violation was introduced in 2004.

By Wang Qian, China Daily
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