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IPR pirates face tougher prison terms

By Du Liya and Yan Shuang (Global Times)

17:25, November 14, 2012

A senior official vowed Monday that China would begin far harsher crackdowns on piracy and that even selling a few pirated items might land fraudsters in prison. This comes as publication authorities have readied an amendment law proposal on copyright protection.

Liu Binjie, head of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), said during the 18th National Congress of the CPC that the draft law would double down on the protection of digital copyright.

The amendment to China's Copyright Law will also enhance punitive measures for piracy, he said. For example, illegal vendors caught selling even just one or two pirated copies will be sentenced to jail, as compared to the 600 copies stipulated by current laws.

"It is a good move to fight against piracy with legislative means, and the severe punishment can help reduce illegal sales of pirated copies," Zhao Hu, a copyright lawyer at the Beijing Hanzhuo Law Firm, told the Global Times.

The GAPP established three drafts of the amendment and will submit it to the State Council later this year.

The law has been the subject of public debate since the first draft was released in March. Several parts sparked controversy, especially those relating to the protection and compensation levels of copyright holders.

Some musicians were displeased as they believed one of the articles in the draft allowed producers to use published musical works under certain conditions without having to obtain consent from the original copyright holder.

Lu Jian, secretary-general of the Recording Works Council under the China Musicians Association, who strongly opposed some articles related to the music industry stipulated in the first draft, expressed his support for harsh punishments for piracy.

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