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How the US Lost Its China Complaint On IP

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the evidence-from-the-newspaper dept.

The Internet 167

An anonymous reader writes "The World Trade Organization yesterday released its much-anticipated decision involving a US complaint against China over its protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The US quickly proclaimed victory, with newspaper headlines trumpeting the WTO panel's requirement that China reform elements of its intellectual property laws. Yet the reality is somewhat different. As Michael Geist notes, the US lost badly on key issues such as border measures and criminal IP enforcement, with the international trade body upholding the validity of China's laws."

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167 comments

Good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26634505)

IP laws are ridiculous imho.

It's Commies, what do you expect from (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636063)

Fucking commies?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636615)

It's kind of sad that such a simple statement is being modded up, mostly because of the truth of the matter.

Re:Good (1)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637439)

IMHO, it's an implementation problem. I would suggest IP to last 1-2 years, non-renewable. Then it would become public domain. It would democratize innovation and the incentive to invest in reseach will still be there.

Re:Good (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637483)

I think the results are terrible. They upheld the ideological basis for the laws, while reserving the right to selectively enforce. So you can't make a business model around helping make cultural works more accessible to the masses, and pretty much every citizen of China is guilty of violating them, so anyone can be picked up off the street for offending a public official and charged with violating copyright.

I'm ashamed to live in the western world today...

Re:Good (1)

arekusu_ou (1344373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638183)

Ashamed to live in the western world today?

As opposed to the last couple decades?

Although I do agree with you, arbituary and selective justice is no justice at all. Too bad the "business" model of that has been put in practice for so many years in terms of motor vehicle violations, moving and parking, as well as various civil and criminal cases. General business regulations. One law for the politicians and elite of society and another for the masses.

Nothing new here, just watching the same ol' parade keep passing on by.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637697)

IP laws are the reason the GPL works.

Seriously, with IP, the US would not be relevant in the global economy. IP is a major export from the US, and without it, we could not possibly sustain an economy based on producing goods in other countries.

What is ridiculous is the tolerance the government seems to have for IP abuse.

A realistic economy (2, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638317)

So we would have to go back to something more balanced and actually produce goods in the US again? I fail to see a downside, considering I am old enough to remember when the bulk of the goods you could go out and buy here were produced here, and the economy was perfectly fine and the middle class was growing with actual savings and we didn't have near as much debt (personal/corporate/governmental). This is one of those things you have to have experienced, it is probably too hard to just muse on it intellectually, but yes, the US is large enough to be able to do this, to set as a primary goal a robust internal trading economy. If you look at it, it is a 50 state trading union, with an established common language and monetary unit. Now we can't support a huge bloated tick class of do nothing office wealth rearrangers hanging around million dollar offices who need bailouts when their gambling debts go bad with a domestic manufacturing economy, or some giant governmental "worker" base, but again, that isn't a downside.

The other method, taken as a whole, this globalization that completely ignored a lot of the reality on the ground such as foreign nations ignoring IP etc, has failed and the economy is in such a mess now that all sorts of wild assed schemes are needed to "save" it. I contend it is better to let the past few decades long experiment in alleged "investment" ponzi schemes and get rich quick schemes and so on just finish failing and rebuild back to the older model that really worked, and improve on that one instead. There were flaws then of course, but we threw the baby out with the bath water by "investing" in their "make china and a few other nations and a handful of CEOs rich while the rest of everyone else went into debt" model. That one has been mostly epic fail, the unemployment numbers and balance of trade numbers and debt load and whatnot recent bad economic news prove that without a doubt.

We traded a few years of cheap gadgets and an exploding debt crisis for more moderate and sustainable and balanced growth and security. I'd rather have had the latter. If their notion of globlization worked, we wouldn't be seeing all these western nations and companies and banks failing right now or going through various economic crises. You cannot borrow your way to wealth, eventually you have to work for it. You can't printing press up more money and call that a sound economy, that will never, ever work, money needs to be based on produced wealth, not unsustainable credit. Keynesian economics and what passes for globalization now are a *fraud* and have failed, it does no good to think rearranging them again with words that push those notions will fix the fundamental errors of that sort of economic system. It needs to be abandoned.

In Communist China... (1)

Jizzbug (101250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634539)

...IP kills you!

Re:In Communist China... (0, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634871)

In capitalist America, IP laws kill you!

Re:In Communist China... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636021)

In capitalist America, IP laws kill you!

The problem is that American capitalism has already had far too much success in persuading other countries that US law (particularly with regard to IP) applies to everyone else too.

It's often a precondition of so-called "free-trade" agreements that usually result in everyone except the US getting shafted. Hence here in Australia, our FTA has saddled us with IP agreements which are recognised by our own legislative committees approximately as "lamentably and inexcusably flawed". I'm too lazy to check that exact quote, but it's out there in public domain.

Doesn't sound very American (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26634563)

What are we, Hamas now? By not completely losing we win?

Re:Doesn't sound very American (4, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634665)

Hey, the Iraqi Information Minister needed to get a job SOMEWHERE!

why bother about their laws being implemented (2, Informative)

crazybit (918023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634569)

outside US borders?

What's next? trying to push a world wide patriot act?

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (5, Informative)

xero314 (722674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634671)

why bother about their laws being implemented outside US borders?

This is not about US laws being upheld on foreign soil. It's about two very specific international contracts between China, the US and many other countries. The two agreements in question are the Bern Convention [wikipedia.org] and TRIPS [wikipedia.org] . These are agreements the US and China both entered into voluntarily.

The decision basically states that china is not fully compliant with the Bern Convention, but they are within the letter of the TRIPS agreement.

Sometimes it not about the US trying to throw it's weight around, because sometimes countries have agreements they have to uphold just like individuals within a country.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26634915)

Individuals can be fined or imprisoned. What exactly is the USA going to do if China tells them to fuck off?

Start a war? Quite frankly China would probably wipe out the USA if it came to that.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635369)

No, we can still out nuke them. And you wherever you are. And everybody else for good measure.

At some point, people are going to realize that nuclear weapons force everyone that has them to cooperate. We (the human race, not just the USA) really can end life on this planet as we know it, so we should stop with the "we will end you" crap.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (0, Flamebait)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636433)

Good luck with the nuclear escalation plan there retard. Think everyone else wouldn't be joining in and obliterating you crazy bastards if you tried?

You would be destroyed by China in a land war - you can barely keep on top of a bunch of loonies with AKs in the middle east as it is - and youve been there almost 20 years off and on.

They are capable of kinetically intercepting satellites with a rocket shot from a moving vehicle. Closing velocity of 12km/sec.

Last the USA tried to knock a satellite out of orbit, they missed. With an explosive projectile as well. Not seeing much technological advantage to pull there...

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (1, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636715)

Nuclear escalation over imaginary property may be retarded, but so is the "my penis is bigger than your penis" argument that this has become.

The U.S would not be remotely destroyed by China in a land war. In fact, I don't think they could take East LA without outnumbering the people there five to one.

You cannot compare a police action against Iraq against an invasion from China. There are two different motives. One is complete destruction, the other is to force a regime change. China would have the same problems on U.S soil as the U.S has on Iraqi soil.

It's a completely stupid argument anyways. The U.S could never start a land war against China, and China could never start a land war against the U.S. How on Earth could the U.S establish a beach head anywhere near China that the Chinese military could not obliterate within hours? Do you really think the U.S Navy has enough assets to throw against China to maintain a successful beach head to begin moving troops and assets in preparation for strategic operations against targets inland? Not in our wildest dreams. China does not have enough assets to do it either. High numbers of troops don't mean diddly crap when they are thousands of miles away from their targets.

There is no way that either side can move that many troops uncontested across the Pacific Ocean. It's impossible, unless performed with absolute stealth. What then? 2 million Chinese against California where a considerable civilian population is armed? National Guard, Army, Marines, Air Force responding?

I think you watched too much Red Dawn. The real challenges in moving assets, maintaining communication and supply lines, and overwhelming the opposition with numbers or technology are not just non-trivial, but damn near insurmountable for the U.S and China with respect to each other.

The only option in a war between us would nuclear or economically based. We would need to destroy infrastructure and targets remotely. That would not last very long as both sides are pretty damn good at it.

Furthermore, from the Chinese perspective they would only want our complete destruction if it came to it, which does not involve a land war. They have enough problems with their own people struggling against the government. They don't want the task of trying to oppress U.S Citizens and pushing their own political ideologies onto us. Hell, they have not even really done that with Hong Kong.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (1)

arekusu_ou (1344373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638531)

The US rely too much on potential foreign nationals in their infrastructure, that's a weakness.

And the Chinese government does not view it's population as something to protect, they view them as commodoties.

Mao made a joke on his visit to the US president, I think it was Carter at the time, in discussing trade agreements, he said they had an excess of women, would you like to take some?

When you view things as commodoties, you can easily sacrifice them if it furthers your goal in the long run.

You're right though, a land war between the US and China is unreasonable. Technology is the forefront of any massive battles, and wiping out a nation with a heavy reliance on technology in their infrastructure is a better way. Communication satellites? Network attack?

And whats the point in occupying the US? Their closed culture has a disdain for westerners and western values. It's not like they can't reverse engineer any technology they happen to find surviving. And its not like they are short on people to populate the new country, or even cheap slave level labor.

As far as NEEDING the US. They're not exactly that rich that they're importing alot of luxuries from the US...does the US still manufacture anything they export to China that China couldn't if push came to shove manufacture themselves or import from someone else who would LOVE to have China's business?

China doesn't NEED to export to the US. There are plenty of other countries in the world, and push comes to shove, they can always increase arm trade to places that hate the US. Win-win there really. And even if they are hit financially a bit, they'll simply let the population suffer....more. Commodoties, only as useful as they remain useful, when they become a liability, they are no longer useful and are therefore expendable as long as THAT is beneficial.

Art of War, know your enemy. Survival trait, if wild assumptions makes you an ass, wild assumptions in a fight will make you a dead ass.

And not to mention...they actually track trade deficit with China don't they?

http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2008 [census.gov]

11 out of the 12 months.

Export to China $66 billion. Import from China $312 billion. Seems like US needs Chinese goods more than they need US. US economy could not handle a hit to massive inflation losing a source of cheap products.

No I think US supremacy in this world is a fallacy long since forgotten by the rest of the world. At most, hate of the US supremacy is remembered still.

USA is trying to pacify Iraq. (0, Offtopic)

FatSean (18753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638487)

The USA would probably not try to pacify and effect regime change in China. They would obliterate every city and send the country back to where it was 50 years ago.

The Navy would ass-rape China's sad showing. The Air Force would have a field day with China's airpower.

Nukes is all that China has that can stand up.

But yeah, IP is absurd.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635639)

Nah, it wouldn't even be mutual destruction. We'd be severely hurt, and China would be destroyed. But they key point is that China can't afford to lose us, and we can't afford to lose China. We're trading partners... all this is just haggling over details.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (2, Informative)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634931)

From the article, China only lost a minor copyright issue. China refused to recognized copyrights for articles that are "unconstitutional or immoral." The WTO said they needed to. All of the other complaints were dismissed.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634955)

This is not about US laws being upheld on foreign soil. It's about two very specific international contracts between China, the US and many other countries. The two agreements in question are the Bern Convention and TRIPS.

From the TRIPS wikipedia link:
TRIPS was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. Its inclusion was the culmination of a program of intense lobbying by the United States, supported by the European Union, Japan and other developed nations.

From the Bern Convention wikipedia link:
The United States initially refused to become party to the Convention since it would have required major changes in its copyright law, particularly with regard to moral rights, removal of general requirement for registration of copyright works and elimination of mandatory copyright notice. This led to the Universal Copyright Convention in 1952 [as an alternative to the Berne Convention] to accommodate the wishes of the United States. But on March 1, 1989, in the U.S. "Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988" came into force and the United States became a party to the Berne Convention, making the Universal Copyright Convention obsolete.

The USA has always had a strong policy of exporting and forcing shitty laws (on)to other countries.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635495)

The USA has always had a strong policy of exporting and forcing shitty laws (on)to other countries.

Truth.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (2, Interesting)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637599)

In our defense, I don't think you should legislate morals. But that's all I can say I agree with. Removing a requirement to register your copyright, and mandatory copyright notices aren't a great idea IMO. Please note though, that in the case of TRIPS it wasn't just the US. Corporations generally don't belong to a country but will have a lobbying presence in many. Many EU nations and Japan are just as much to blame for TRIPS as the US and arguing otherwise just shows how biased you are.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638077)

In our defense, I don't think you should legislate morals.

The "moral rights" the GP was referring to aren't really "morals" in the common sense of the word. They refer to a particularly European view of copyright as protecting authors from misrepresentation and distortion of their work. Additionally, the U.S. actually has implemented a form of moral rights for specific visual works.

It's a tad more complicated (4, Interesting)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637843)

The way the U.S. Constitution is set up is quite unique with regards to international treatises and agreements. Once the U.S. enters into an international treatise, it is not only bound to act in accordance with the treatise in international relations, but the treatise also becomes a law of the land. And not only is it a law of the land, it is considered on par with other constitutional law, i.e., supreme over other laws.

Because of this very unique structure (I am unaware of other major political players with similar constitutional provisions), the U.S. tends to have more of a vested interest in either trying to change the terms of an agreement so that it falls more in line with their own laws, or to abstain entirely from an international treatise (e.g., Kyoto).

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635505)

Sometimes it not about the US trying to throw it's weight around, because sometimes countries have agreements they have to uphold just like individuals within a country.

Hmm... You mean like the Kyoto Protocol?

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636175)

"Sometimes it not about the US trying to throw it's weight around, because sometimes countries have agreements they have to uphold just like individuals within a country."

This makes me want to barf in my mouth. The US is one of the worst offenders in the world scene for breaking agreements.

Here, I'll help you a litte:
http://www.vexen.co.uk/USA/un.html
http://www.stopusa.be/scripts/texte.php?section=BS&langue=3&id=18022
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/softwood_lumber/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban-American_Treaty

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636391)

because sometimes countries have agreements they have to uphold just like individuals within a country.

How is that compatible with democracy, though? (Generally speaking; obviously, China is not an example there.)

Yes, you may say if a democratically-elected government (administration/parliament) signs or ratifies such a contract, that's perfectly democratic, but I don't think it is.

I mean, imagine that parliament made a law that said "this law cannot be changed in any way by future parliaments". Obviously, that's undemocratic, right? It'd be because the current people would take away sovereignty from future generations, which is something they cannot do, just like - say - the majority cannot vote to take rights away from a minority.

How are international conventions different, though?

(And for that matter, there's also the issue that for "normal" contracts, there is an established system of law to deal with these. What established system of international law is there, and what does it derive its justification from?)

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (3, Informative)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636773)

If you asked Britain in the 1800s, China had no right to refuse the "free trade" of importing opium no matter who it killed.

Following China's defeat in the Second Opium War in 1858, China was forced to legalize opium and began massive domestic production. Importation of opium peaked in 1879 at 6,700 tons, and by 1906, China was producing 85% of the world's opium, some 35,000 tons, and 27% of its adult male population was addicted--13.5 million addicts consuming 39,000 tons of opium yearly. From 1880 to the beginning of the Communist era, the British attempted to discourage the use of opium in China, but this effectively promoted the use of morphine, heroin, and cocaine, further exacerbating the problem of addiction. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium#Prohibition_and_conflict_in_China [wikipedia.org]

For losing to the British invasion, China had to pay $15 million in restitution to British merchants, open their ports to the drug trade, and cede Hong Kong to Britain.

But they were only enforcing trade agreements!

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (2, Interesting)

Snaller (147050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636829)

"These are agreements the US and China both entered into voluntarily."

Of course its not the whole country who are behind this, its a tiny minority of (honest?) politicians who have signed this. A lot of people are against the ability to do a job once and then expect to get paid over and over for it again.

Voluntary? (1)

Baki (72515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637161)

I wonder how voluntary many countries really enter these agreements. If you do not, the US and some other western countries will view you as a rogue state and boycott you. I feel many countries including China are blackmailed into accepting these agreements.

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (1)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637379)

You are trying to be funny right? Or you just opened your eyes?

In Argentina, if you want to start a new business you have to sign a US-provided paper and put your fingerprint on it stating that the busines will not support terrorists organizations. It IS a US-imposed requirement through the WTO or any other like that, can't remember exactly what agancy or boty required it. I know cause I had to do it.
Regardless that I wouldn't support terrorist, and as stupid as it seems to me (Terrorist supporters tend to lie from time to time, you know) it, makes you wonder WTF?!

Just imagine what your face would be if you decide to form an LLC and they present you an argentine paper stating something like that and requiring to put your fingerprint on it.

And I didn't even had to go to a US-border!

Re:why bother about their laws being implemented (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637507)

It's an international treaty - this gives the US rights against other countries, as well as providing rights to other countries against the US. Both sides should be able to rely on the treaty to be fulfilled by the other side. There is even an agreed method to arbitrate conflicts, and the US used that agreed method.

Communists don't believe in imaginary property... (2, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634701)

Do China's border measures, which allow customs officials to donate, auction, or sell to the rights holder confiscated goods, violate TRIPS?

(FTFA)

China can take your bootleg XP discs on grounds you pirated them...and then sell them? lolwut?

Re:Communists don't believe in imaginary property. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635261)

Yes, they can donate, auction or sell them to the record company that the IP belongs to. If the company doesn't want to pay for them, then I guess the stuff is donated or destroyed. I really see nothing wrong there.

Quite fair actually (4, Interesting)

femto (459605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636049)

It seems quite fair to ask that the rights holder pay the cost of production if they choose to take possession the bootleg product, as they are then free to sell it for retail price. Why should the rights holder get a bunch of free product, which they would otherwise have to have paid to produce? If they rights holder doesn't want to retail the bootleg product themselves they can refuse to buy it.

In this case the Chinese government seems to be ahead of the US in applying market principles..

Re:Quite fair actually (4, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636321)

I think the problem isn't as much the IP holder not wanting to buy the counterfeit product back. For all intents and purposes, the product could be tainted in some way or carry a liability of some sort. The problem is that if it was wrong for the pirate to sell the material based on the lack of permission from the copyright holder, then it is still wrong for anyone else to do the same.

You see, law enforcement isn't supposed to be making a profit from other people's crimes whether you agree with those crimes or not. And because the IP holder doesn't want to purchase them, doesn't mean they lose any right to them. Otherwise the cops could create a legitimate counterfeiting scheme where they find all sorts of counterfeit merchandise but never the pirates and thereby are guaranteed a profit by either selling them to the IP holder or the public at large. Market principles simply don't apply unless copyright law says something to the effect of "the creator or owner of the copyright has the exclusive control over distribution unless the cops find someone breaking the law". As far as I know, it doesn't and as far as I know, the exclusive rights are guaranteed by treaties which don't hold those provisions.

Re:Quite fair actually (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636519)

As rights holders are quite fond of telling everyone: you own the plastic of which the DVD is made, we own (and license) the rest. Now the boot is on the other foot, and the rights holders don't like it. The Chinese government isn't selling rights owners the IP (which the holder already owns). What they are selling them is a lump of plastic. There's no profit involved. All the Chinese government is saying is "we get the free lunch, not you". Quite justified, especially since the government has incurred policing costs.

Re:Quite fair actually (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637253)

Oh, Ok. I guess I thought that meant Chinese Police selling the bootleg stuff on the street.

donate, auction, or sell

Actually...if China reserves the right to donate the bootleg material...they would NOT be talking about donating it back to the IP holder. That's not a donation. And auction? Why would you auction bootleg material back to the IP holder...that's an auction of one.

On second thought...I am right. This isn't just about selling it back to the IP holder.

the real problem is enforcement (5, Interesting)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634721)

I spend a great deal of time in China. The real crux of the problem is that there is a WIDE gulf between the law and enforcement of the law (unless it involves anti-government behavior...then the gulf narrows quickly).

I can easily go to any one of hundreds of locations that I know of (and I'm a damn foreigner) in Beijing and buy openly pirated movies and software. Sure, it is illegal to sell that stuff per the law books, but the government just doesn't care. And when they make some noise about caring, it's VERY temporary, the press gets their story and photos, and then it's back to business as usual.

Government officials are profiting directly from winking at this illicit trade so there's little incentive for those lower on the totem poles to rock the boat. It's not uncommon for the owner of one of these illicit DVD/CD fabs to bring in the relative of some party official in as a "silent partner" to keep the heat off. Welcome to China. Now be quiet and enjoy your 10RMB DVD (complete with fancy packaging and liner notes) that can be had in most subway stations and street corners in Beijing...er...roughly 7% of the price I'd pay at my local Best Buy for the same title in similar packaging.....

Re:the real problem is enforcement (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634843)

There is the problem, full in your face style. No matter what trade agreements are agreed to, China is run differently internally than the USA or European Union countries. Going to the WTO is like asking a police officer to witness someone robbing your car all the while knowing that the police officer will not arrest the robber. I don't think anyone has a full grasp of what would happen if the US simply stopped doing business with China cold turkey style... So, this remains a problem.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (3, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635083)

I guess what would happen is the US would go cold turkey...

And China would retaliate by selling all their US dollar bonds. You think the economic crisis is bad _NOW_?

Obvious answer (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635359)

Make the US dollar bonds worthless by spending made up USD like... like, um, politicians!

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635437)

Who would buy them? Much of the "chinese" industry are US and European corporations with US and European stockholders. As the US falls so does China and everybody else that bet on the US economy. It's a global economy afterall.

We are looking into the abyss of a world wide global depression.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635959)

Who would buy them?

Imagine you're an exporter/importer in need of some dollars. Who do you buy from? The cheapest ones being sold, of course.

Now imagine China trying to slowly dump all their dollar reserves by selling at slightly less than the current going rate. Suddenly the supplier of dollars will be China, not the US, and the dollar will fall as far as China wants.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636367)

What he was saying is that it wouldn't matter because any real damage it caused the US would be echoed into the world economy and it would limit itself.

Suppose you were the importer, when your US dollar buys three times as much US goods, you only need one third of them. When you holdings lose two thirds of their value, you don't have the money to spend on importing so the demand drops. China doesn't regulate it's dollar on the open market either. It's artificially set so it isn't apparent that they could play the money game where they attempt to profit by creating a scheme like that.

Besides, the actual need for Currency is pretty much mute any more. Everything is done globally with electronic transfers that are honored by international banks. On the scales that exporters/importers operate on, they just find a multinational bank and don't worry about it as long as they keep funds on both sides. The conversions fees are even smaller if not waived for items like this. Only small time operators like tourists and novelty brokers needs to worry about currency conversions like you mentioned.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636379)

I was going to mod you up.
Then you said "mute"

Re:the real problem is enforcement (2, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637077)

And China would retaliate by selling all their US dollar bonds. You think the economic crisis is bad _NOW_?

Doubtful - at least as more than a symbolic gesture.

Those bonds have substantial value to the Chinese. If they have 100 billion dollars worth of US bonds they're almost certain to get 100 billion dollars in cash over the next few decades as they mature. If they sell the whole thing for a million dollars then they get a million dollars worth of various currencies now. As an added bonus they REALLY tick off the US government. It would make it harder for the US government to issue new debt for a while, but I doubt it would cause the sky to fall. If the US actually tightened its belt and stopped running a deficit then it wouldn't have any impact at all (granted, that kind of spending discipline would make economic recovery more difficult).

What it might do is trigger a small war of some kind, which the Chinese are not equipped to fight (they have no deep water navy as yet - so all the fighting will be in their own territory). China has a huge army, but unless it plans to swim the bearing strait it doesn't really have any way to leave the country unless they plan on invading the Ukraine (and the former soviet states do NOT mess around). They might be able to invade Taiwan but even that would be iffy (a few subs could take out a lot of troop transports, and there isn't that much land to defend with hidden anti-air defenses). The US wouldn't be interested in actually siezing the country or anything (which would be crazy with the size of their army), but they could just drop lots of bombs on bridges or anything else with a military application and watch their economy grind to a halt. Simply blockading their ports would pretty much cripple their export-driven economy, and cut off their oil supplies as an added bonus (you could bomb the few overland pipelines very easily).

This would never actually happen in real life - since everybody knows it isn't worth anybody's time to get into this kind of a mess. The US and China will continue to trade words while the rich guys making the money make sure the borders stay open.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637139)

"This would never actually happen in real life - since everybody knows it isn't worth anybody's time to get into this kind of a mess." ... rrriiight. Hey you heard about Iraq, right?

China != Iraq (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637255)

I think you missed out on:

the rich guys making the money make sure the borders stay open.

With Iraq, the rich guys wanted the war. As they say, "money talks."

Money + Immorality = Major Problems.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635459)

I don't think anyone has a full grasp of what would happen if the US simply stopped doing business with China cold turkey style

I'd say, it would benefit every country inbetween. I don't think US citizens would unanimously stop using cheaper china produced products; they'd just be a little less cheaper for passing through another country.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637341)

And it's not like even the US pays any attention to the dictates of the WTO.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635011)

Personally during my time in China, I liked the fact that DVD's were so cheap.
From what I've heard, DVD companies initially tried selling DVD's in China for the same price they do in Western countries, and only the top business owners can afford that type of thing.
China also has _far_ more problems that copyright infringement to get fixed first.
During my time there as an English teacher, the boss I had (oh and this is at a school that is a business venture of a big foreign university!) took 150RMB off one of the Chinese girls that worked with me. She only got 1500RMB a month, often had to work 4 hours over time every day, and didn't get paid for it despite the law saying she should be.
I went into my boss' office with a photocopy of the letter he'd given her saying he was taking 10% of her wages, because she had forgotten to sign her name in one day. Asked him what was up with it and got really pissed off at him, was close to walking out. I hate seeing others treated that way.
I've thought about bringing this to the attention of the university that is in charge of the English school, but I doubt they'd do anything. It piss' me off that many institutions from rich countries criticize the treatment of workers in China, but go full steam ahead and exploit it themselves. Bloody hypocrites.
I'm going to post this anonymously as at the moment I don't want to take any risks for when I go back there.
Anyway, as I said, China has more issues to deal with than copyright infringement. Despite all the problems in China though, I recommend going there, I absolutely love the country, the food, and most of the people. If they could sort out the pollution problems I think it would be the most beautiful country on earth.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (-1, Flamebait)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635105)

> During my time there as an English teacher

Don't make me laugh. Bottom feeder is more like it. Scum.

Clear this up for me. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635485)

Is it true that weedjies prefer assfucking their mothers to their sisters?

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637727)

What on earth do you mean by that? What exactly is your problem?

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636261)

I went into my boss' office with a photocopy of the letter he'd given her saying he was taking 10% of her wages, because she had forgotten to sign her name in one day. Asked him what was up with it and got really pissed off at him, was close to walking out. I hate seeing others treated that way.

It's not clear whether this was in fact an injustice - sounds like the boss docked her wages for failing to record her time. Many companies will fine or fire employees for not keeping proper timekeeping, because the business will be fined by the government or sued by employees if their timekeeping is not correct. Similarly, bar employees will be outright fired for not obeying liquor laws, because the bar will be shut down if a violation occurs. These are serious offenses to the business, even if the offense is as simple as not signing your name one day. Since the offense to serious to the business, the punishment to the employee is also serious.

I've thought about bringing this to the attention of the university that is in charge of the English school, but I doubt they'd do anything. It piss' me off that many institutions from rich countries criticize the treatment of workers in China, but go full steam ahead and exploit it themselves.

So, it's wrong to criticize bad treatment and yet do nothing. You criticized bad treatment, and yet did nothing. Oh wait, you "got really pissed off" and "thought about" doing something.

Bloody hypocrites.

By your own definition, you are too.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636571)

"If they could sort out the pollution problems I think it would be the most beautiful country on earth."

IMHO, thats the issue they really need to sort out more than anything. I visited China around 40 years ago and saw an amazingly beautiful country (although very impoverished).

Having returned recently it was quite heart-breaking to see how polluted much of the country had become. I don't dispute poverty has decreased massively on paper, but to be honest, the endless miles of cramped apartments in absolutely awful grey-concrete neighbourhoods devoid of nature or beauty (apart from the odd disgustingly polluted river) and with air you could immediately tell was unhealthy - didn't strike me as being particularly better than the poor rural communities I remember seeing decades ago.

I love China, they have an absolutely amazing amount of culture, but they have paid an enormous enviromental price (in terms of their local enviroments rather than global warming type enviromental problems) and even if millions earn far more than before, thinking about the conditions so many now live in does still bring tears to my eyes.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (4, Interesting)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635213)

I was a visiting American Scientist during my prolonged stay in China and was the first American that many Chinese seen since the Chiang Kai-shek stuff from the 50's and 60's. I traveled some with the president of the American company where I worked (he was American Chinese) and so I had a lot of opportunities to explore many place that most Americans would not be admitted.

I literally traveled from one end of China to another. I am rather a low key guy but because of my title then each Chinese providence would hold a banquet in my honor and so we would drink wu-shing pigu (5 star beer) and a clear liquor that I forget the name of but it was potent... anyway, I found the Chinese to be a most proper group of individuals and were good to their word... except if government was involved then they followed the ticket that was being trailed out... probably for self preservation.

I really enjoyed the people and loved the environment... being raised originally on a farm in Ohio made me understand a lot more than if I was a city slicker. What I did find though was that the average person did what they had to do to get along in life. If it meant duplicating a song or a data file then it was not a problem for them... I must reiterate that their values were neither greater nor less than mine but rather that they did what they had to do to survive in the economy of that era.

Sometimes I wish that I had transfered there permanently. My heart is very similar to that of the typical Chinese individual and they had a warmth that I find missing in today's life in America.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (2, Informative)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635699)

wu-shing pigu (5 star beer)

Suggest you call it either "wu-shing pi-chiu" or "wu-xin pi-jiu" instead. "Pigu" sounds like ass... I swear!

clear liquor that I forget the name of but it was potent

The Chinese, Japanese and other Asians are great at making wine out of anything - rice, barley, wheat, and so forth. One mouthful is enough to make me drunk.

You've lead a very interesting life. And you're a real Scientist with a 3-digit ID!

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636333)

What I did find though was that the average person did what they had to do to get along in life. If it meant duplicating a song or a data file then it was not a problem for them... I must reiterate that their values were neither greater nor less than mine but rather that they did what they had to do to survive in the economy of that era.

This is a... strange couple of sentences for me. You're really equating "surviv[ing] in the economy of that era" to copying a song or program? If we're really going to count a right to have a particular song or piece of data among the things needed for survival, I think we've lost all sense of what surviving means. I suspect a trip to most countries in Africa would refresh the mind as to what it means to do what one needs to do to survive. It certainly has nothing to do with putting a pirated song on your knockoff iPod.

You should have simply left it at a difference of opinion. Everybody likes to believe their set of opinions are superior--after all, that's why they're our opinions right?--but many people at least will be able to superficially recognize that they're not necessarily universal. The Chinese don't care all that much about copyright? No biggie for me (though I do have a problem with pretending to abide by rules that they don't). No need to make it more than that.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636419)

I suspect a trip to most countries in Africa would refresh the mind as to what it means to do what one needs to do to survive. It certainly has nothing to do with putting a pirated song on your knockoff iPod.

But it does have a hell of a lot to do with selling a CD of pirated songs for 5 yuan to somebody who can afford an ipod.
Try not to automatically assume someone is an idiot just because you don't immediately see where they are coming from.

Eh? (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636451)

I was ... the first American that many Chinese seen (sic) since the Chiang Kai-shek stuff from the 50's and 60's.

Chiang left the mainland in 1949 [wikipedia.org] . During the 1950s and 1960s he was President of the ROC, of course, but I wasn't aware of any significant numbers of Americans on the mainland during this period, the height of the Cold War. Did you mean "the 1940s," or is there a facet of Sino-American relations of which I am not aware?

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637629)

The clear liquor was probably baijiu which is pronounced, more or less, as "buy joe" and translates, unfortunately, as "white spirit".

Re:the real problem is enforcement (-1, Troll)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635217)

The real crux of the problem is that there is a WIDE gulf between the law and enforcement of the law

The real real problem is that there's an armada of press and web-sites that spew rubbish against china.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (2, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635429)

Right, the "Vast Western Conspiracy" to talk trash about China. That's the sort of thing I hear from Chinese students who have little experience with other societies.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635629)

The real real problem is that there's a tendency for press and web-sites that sometimes distort the truth against china, due to a general feeling that China is a very harsh place, etc.

There, fixed it for him.

The problem is, newspapers that praise China, are less likely to be purchased by the general population, who prefer reading articles that agree with their own view.

In a small way, it's related to money.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636619)

I've found that to be so true.

People don't read things like newspapers to learn about the world, they read them to confirm their already held assumptions.

My already held assupmtion is that it all ties back to the fact noone likes to hear that they are wrong, whilst everyone likes to hear they are right!

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636657)

Strangely, it applies to us Slashdot readers too.

We (IT people) may stick to our point of views on IT issues. Yet we can discuss non-IT issues objectively.

Non-IT persons may stick to their point of views on non-IT issues. Yet they can discuss IT issues objectively.

(Blessed is the corporate tech support, for he/she can see both sides.)

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637119)

(Blessed is the corporate tech support, for he/she can see both sides.)

And yet is listened to by neither ;-)

Re:the real problem is enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637411)

seeing and understanding are very different things.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635831)

Kindof a nice little baseline on the actual intrinsic value of such things.  7%.  Good to know.

Re:the real problem is enforcement (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636789)

Of course if the westeners were less greedy, they could reduce the price they want from this stuff. A "fair price" is not "what you can get away with"

Haha (2, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634761)

If the wto made a ruling against China which will obviously be ignored what are they going to do. Punitive measures? Oh lets stop trade with China, great idea. Kind of a silly system if you ask me.

Re:Haha (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26634975)

If the wto made a ruling against China which will obviously be ignored what are they going to do. Punitive measures? Oh lets stop trade with China, great idea. Kind of a silly system if you ask me.

If you think the economy is bad now, what do you think it will be like when we hurt every business that deals with china?

Re:Haha (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635603)

> If you think the economy is bad now, what do you think it will be like when we hurt every business that deals with china?

It would really suck. Somebody has to provide us with cheap shit. Otherwise we'll have to start working hard for it ourselves.

Re:Haha (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635727)

Not as bad as it will hurt China, who can no longer sell them. The important point is, it would severely hurt both countries, so nothing will come of this. It's sabre-rattling to try to get the best deal.

China had more people there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636643)

when they didn't sell to the West.

When they can't sell to the west, what do you think will happen? They'll survive as they have done.

This failure of trade will only be a problem for China after another 50 years or so, when they've gotten addicted to this and have dropped the old ways.

At the moment, there are still too many people who don't make anything from the West in China and they will not be affected.

Re:Haha (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635007)

If the wto made a ruling against China which will obviously be ignored what are they going to do. Punitive measures? Oh lets stop trade with China, great idea. Kind of a silly system if you ask me.

The punitive measures are not "lets stop trade with China".

Normally the WTO gives the wronged party permission to institute tariffs/duties on specific goods from the offending country, equal to the losses sustained by the aggrieved. Here's a recent example [northwestern.edu] of the USA raising tariffs on cheese imported from Europe.

Re:Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26636525)

That's how the USA deliberately created it, though - allow the stronger player to bully the weaker players. Of course, the USA never expected to not be the stronger player themselves...

I'm confused (-1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635073)

...this is /. - where is the Microsoft tie-in? How can this site uphold the mandate to keep Microsoft in front of the public without every story having some sort of Microsoft tie-in?

Don't think people aren't noticing the shilling that is going on...

Another day....another 30% content devoted to Microsoft. What a way to go down in history.

Re:I'm confused (2, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635779)

If only 30% of the stories relate to Microsoft, Slashdot is probably under-reporting... Windows is on a far higher percentage of PCs than 30%. You should be happy the amount of Linux stories doesn't accurately reflect the installed base.

In reality, Slashdot focuses more on Linux and less on Windows than any simple news aggregator would. They do have a bias, but it's exactly the opposite of your conspiratorial theory. So, no, nobody sensible thinks Microsoft shilling is going on here. In fact, it would require a worrisome disconnect from reality to hold that idea.

Want to introduce patents disease into China, huh? (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635229)

Just because the wise US forefathers saw patents as a meaningful concept doesn't mean everyone across the world share the same wisdom.

Re:Want to introduce patents disease into China, h (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638223)

Just because the wise US forefathers saw patents as a meaningful concept doesn't mean everyone across the world share the same wisdom.

Well, China became a party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1985, so this is not exactly news. (Also, the U.S. complaint didn't have anything to do with patents)

Though no one is going to deny the influence of the U.S. in pushing stronger IP protection throughout the world, patents by no means originated with the U.S. Furthermore, as a practical matter, since the vast majority of countries in the world are parties to the Berne Convention, the Paris Convention, and TRIPS, even if they don't "share the same wisdom" they are legally obliged to act as if they do.

We shouldn't even be trading with China (1)

Tyrannicalposter (1347903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26635601)

We shouldn't even be trading with China. By doing so we are propping up a repressive regime.

First it was Nixon's ill conceived openess policy with China, then GW allowing them into the WTO.

We would have been better off with India as a manufacturing base.

faiKlizors! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26635873)

to hDave regular Software lawyers

As the USA just ignore's WTO.. (4, Insightful)

Jack Sombra (948340) | more than 5 years ago | (#26636527)

As the USA just ignores WTO when it suits them, like in the case of Internet Gambling and Antigua, do they honestly expect a country like China to pay any attention to WTO? And god help USA if it try's to "punish" China, as China could make the dollar worth less than a Zimbabwean dollar and blast the US economy back to barter system overnight

Copy anything attitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637485)

I was in Hong Kong last Chinese New Year with a friend who was shopping for a new watch. We both took photos of almost every watch between HK and Kowloon from outside each shop. On the street and inside malls. Then, in the IFC mall, a salesperson came out running and yelling at us to stop, "no photos!"

I asked why not and she said that people copy watches and rip off the real makers all the time with look-a-likes.

We were just shopping for a $400 watch that wasn't available back home.

BTW, go to Hong Kong AND Macau for some fun sometime. Wonderful city and area, lots to see and do regardless of your desires. I loved the cultural sites that were fairly easy to take a train to see. Don't worry about just speaking English. It is easier to get along there with just English than in Latin America.

Hilarity ensues (1)

Voodoo Coder (1442311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637735)

China has the USA's cajones in a vice right now. The US is stomping on about pirated copies of Caddyshack and Windows being sold throughout China, but what EXACTLY can the US do? Nadda. And China knows it. China will say whatever they want to the WTO, because they now own it. They know that if the USA holds true to the original bargain, and enforces tariffs on the goods imported from China because China is not upholding their end, the cost of goods will skyrocket and the American economy will be worse off than it already is. No one is going to do that. China is holding ALL the cards, and this decision is just another charade in this dance. As long as this IP battle goes on, the USA gets hurt. Thanks a lot, entertainment industry. And I thought the story behind Pluto Nash was bad...

Screw China! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637873)

And screw India too. Let these countries fend for themselves. Its time the USA get some BALLS and tell these nations to hire their own, create their own products.. And a word to our CEO's and politicians in the USA - you all SUCK too. Stop giving our jobs and products to other nations who dont give two shits about the USA.

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