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Copyright to be tied to officials' careers

(China Daily)

13:59, December 14, 2011

BEIJING - The protection of intellectual property rights should be tied to the performance assessments of regional governments, a senior official said.

"The regional governments must clarify their working guidelines, as well as the accountability of the officials responsible for defining the duties of different departments," said Jiang Zengwei, vice-minister of commerce.

The responsibility must be assigned to individual officials, he said.

Jiang, at a news conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing on Tuesday, warned that severe neglect of duty by those officials will lead to tough criminal punishments.

Meanwhile, the central government is also aiming to strengthen enforcement and scale up prosecution.

The government will improve the legal system, describe more specific illegal actions, increase fines and try to make the regulations easier to implement, said Jiang.

During a nine-month campaign earlier this year against copyright infringement and counterfeiting launched by the State Council, officers investigated more than 156,000 cases worth 3.4 billion yuan ($537 million) and closed 9,135 workshops producing counterfeit goods.

"To be fair, the campaign's result is good in contrast to previous ones," said Wang Qian, a professor at the intellectual property school of the East China University of Political Science and Law.

"But the State Council prefers to establish a long-term effective mechanism to reduce pressure from international society and more efficiently combat intellectual property rights violations."

He said the officers deployed in previous campaigns were temporarily assembled while there are few regular forces to fight intellectual property right violations.

"Investing in a quality force of administrative law enforcement officials is key," the professor said.

"The government must be patient in successfully carrying out the mechanism and it will take time."

Jiang said the government wants to introduce punitive measures against those who make money through counterfeiting and copyright infringement.

"They must lose all of their property," Jiang said.

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