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Copyright Holders Sign China Piracy Agreement

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the the-devil-is-in-the-details- dept.

The Internet 32

eldavojohn writes "On Friday, a whole bunch of associations signed an agreement with China to combat internet piracy. From the article, "China's National Copyright Administration said the country would investigate and punish those suspected of online intellectual property abuses by the movie association as well as other groups such as the Association of American Publishers." From another article, I found that not only was it the MPA but also the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Association of American Publishers (AAP) and The Publishers Association (TPA) of the U.K."

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Off with his head! (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286956)

So these associations basically just signed the death warrants of hundreds of people?

Re:Off with his head! (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287184)

As long as they are selling pirated goods and hawking them via spam, I don't see the problem here. Death to all spammers, right?

Re:Off with his head! (1)

Kardall (886095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287748)

Honestly, I have never recieved Piracy Spam. I get tonnes of Viagra and the latest inside trading information on very informative products like.... Viagra stocks... lol

Maybe it only affects those IN China, and not people in China broadcasting outside of China?

But I agree with the deaths of hundreds of people in China. The American organizations have to realize, yes they are trying to do good, but yes they are going to kill them when they find them. They will put them in a holding cell, then they will "die of undiagnosed heart complications."

*shrug* If they want to have their name attached to those events, all the power to them. I still won't buy their stuff :P

Re:Off with his head! (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294998)

As long as they are selling pirated goods and hawking them via spam,

In China pirated goods are sold in shops and street markets.

Re:Off with his head! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17288472)

So these associations basically just signed the death warrants of hundreds of people?

China takes economic crimes seriously. That is part of its culture and I do not think unique to the present-day communist regime.

Re:Off with his head! (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292666)

China takes economic crimes seriously.
When it suits it to do so.

That is part of its culture and I do not think unique to the present-day communist regime.
If that is really the case, which I'm in no position to judge, then its culture needs changing. The point of universal human rights is that they're universal, not a pick-and-mix bag that changes depending on which part of the world you were unlucky enough to be born into. "It's part of my culture" does not justify any abuse of human rights, be it slavery, forced marriage, execution, genital mutilation, religious persecution, or any of the other many abhorrent practices that are regrettably still all too common in our supposedly enlightened modern age.

Re:Off with his head! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17296010)

If that is really the case, which I'm in no position to judge, then its culture needs changing. The point of universal human rights is that they're universal

It is a stretch to argue that imprisonment --- hard time --- for economic crimes violates a fundamental human right. If your argument is simply against the death penalty, that is another issue.

Re:Off with his head! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17290408)

"So these associations basically just signed the death warrants of hundreds of people?"

Sure looks like it.

"the country would investigate and punish those suspected of online intellectual property abuses"

And apparently, you only need to be suspected of it to be punished.

I guess they need to save on court costs or something like that.

Re:Off with his head! (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292524)

hundreds? Me thinks you're underestimating the size of the Chinese bootlegging industry.

It takes two... (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286958)

China will provide the piracy, and the rest will combat it.

Piracy pays? (1)

jibster (223164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287034)

Piracy costs U.S. industry about $2.3 billion a year in revenues for films, music and digital goods, U.S. officials have said.
Anybody have any numbers who much Piracy is worth to the pirates. I'd love to know if they could soak up the cost of producing a blockbuster and still turn a profit.

BSA (3, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287128)

Of course the BSA signed on. For over a decade people have noted that Microsoft let Windows get copied and used throughout China with no attempt at all to force licensing. Microsoft didn't speak to China about it. And they didn't ask the US government to step in. Now that the Chinese economy is on the upswing and millions of computers are running illegal copies of Windows, Microsoft is ready to clamp down and demand money.

Some use the anology to drug dealing. Give the product away for almost nothing until people get hooked, then demand a lot of money.

Re:BSA (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287508)

Meh, or else they just decided that the cost of enforcing was higher than the prospective reward?

Remember.. this is a buisness not a cartel. Microsoft, love 'em or hate 'em produces a legit product which it sells for a profit. They don't have much cause to use coercive preasure to persuade people to use the industry standard. (at least for desktops)

-GiH

Re:BSA (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287712)

When China's tech industry was just starting to grow, they had a few options. Purchase commercial OSes, make illegal copies of those OSes, or create their own. They went with the cheapest, quickest, and safest route. Microsoft wasn't trying to persuade the Chinese. They simply let the obvious choice take its course. Had they worked with the governments to end illegal copying China would have probably produced their own OS or illegally copied a less popular choice.

Red Flag Linux (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17291440)

Had they worked with the governments to end illegal copying China would have probably produced their own OS

And Microsoft would be in even bigger economic trouble, facing a billion potential users of Red Flag Linux OS [wikipedia.org] .

Re:BSA (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287834)

For over a decade people have noted

Oh, well, since "people" have noted it, that must meant that, despite the virtual impossibility of getting the PRC's notoriously kleptocratic, oppressive government to crack down on that country's use of producitivy-boosting tools that they didn't have to pay to develop or use, Microsoft must really not have cared that a giant economy with billions of people was, in substantial quantities, ripping them off. No doubt it just never crossed their minds to fret about it, since if they had noticed that, the PRC's fine, open-minded government would surely have stepped right up and done the right thing.

*eyes rolling back into useful position, more or less*

Microsoft and China's Software Trade Association (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17288256)

For over a decade people have noted that Microsoft let Windows get copied and used throughout China with no attempt at all to force licensing. Microsoft didn't speak to China about it. And they didn't ask the US government to step in.

Microsoft China was the first foreign-funded corporation to gain full membership in CSIA (China Software Trade Association.)

In 2002.

"With the membership, Microsoft will be expected to participate in a series of activities to be held by the Association on protection of intellectual property rights and software technology developing.

As the most influential software company in the world, Microsoft's participation would play a positive role in the development of the Association, said Chen Chong, the CSIA board chairman.

With China's WTO accession, China's software industry has to steer onto the same track as internationally accepted practices and operate in a global market." Microsoft Joins in China Software Industry Association [peopledaily.com.cn]

Wet Blanket (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287136)

Not to be a wet blanket, but hasn't China vowed this sort of thing before? Even if the Chinese government were to go all out and start executing pirates en masse, there's still too much profit being made through piracy to believe the practice will just stop. I'm not condoning piracy, but it really does seem that piracy is a reaction to market forces out of whack, ie, wares that are being pirated are priced too high for the market in question.

Re:Wet Blanket (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287280)

China is trying to be a big player in the world economy. And so they have to at least pretend to play by the rules. I believe their membership in the WTO requires they combat international copyright infringement.

Re:Wet Blanket (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287732)

``I'm not condoning piracy, but it really does seem that piracy is a reaction to market forces out of whack, ie, wares that are being pirated are priced too high for the market in question.''

Well, almost. Rather than say that market forces are "out of whack", prices are too high, and piracy is a reaction to that, I would say that piracy is a market force. The pirates are actually just other players entering the market and competing with the incumbents.

The incumbents are exercising their government-granted monopoly (copyright) and doing what rational monopolists do: collecting outrageous margins and delivering mediocre products and services. The pirates are violating the monopoly and distributing the products that only the incumbents have the rights to distribute. This costs them whatever it costs the incumbents to distribute the same products, plus the additional cost of fines, jail sentences, etc. when they are caught. Rational pirates pass these costs on to the customers, as well as charge whatever markup customers are willing to pay, but many pirates actually don't charge for their wares - meaning they are actually more like Robin Hoods than like actual pirates.

What's interesting about this whole thing is that, in the age of digital media and cheap bandwidth, piracy is so cheap and so widespread that governments can't enforce the monopoly that they've given (or sold) the copyright holders. Instead, they've extended the term of copyright (which is completely useless against piracy), tightened the law (DMCA; somewhat useful, although it harms customers, as well), and upped the sentences (again, DMCA; this is about the only effective measure, as it raises the cost of piracy). However, I have the feeling that things would have to get much, much more draconian for pirates' costs to reach the level where piracy is only profitable at the sales prices the monopolists charge.

Of course, governments can and do go after pirates' customers as well. This is probably a much more successful tactic, as the business case for risking a jail sentence or hefty fine to save a few dollars on a song or movie is much harder to make then the business case of facing a jail sentence or a hefty fine for raking in millions of dollars in profits.

Ok, enough rambling. I'm not even an economist.

Re:Wet Blanket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293734)

Well of course, copyrights are evil. I mean, even though J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, I think I should be able to sell my own copies. I mean, after all, I'm going to all the trouble of printing them, all she did was spend years writing, editing, and perfecting each episode in the series.

Besides, she can always make up the lost revenues in concert.

Re:Wet Blanket (2, Informative)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294042)

Besides, she can always make up the lost revenues in concert.

I was about to mod this funny, as a parody of common arguments in favor of music piracy that did elicit a chuckle. However, a couple of important differences did occur to me:

Book publishers aren't quite so notorious about first paying an advance to the writer and then using creative accounting schemes to insure that is about all the writer will ever get out of them after that.

Books aren't so dependent on radio play, critical exposure for music that is completely and unfairly controlled by payola. "If payola is illegal, only criminals will get radio play"...

Given the inequities in music produciton, distribution and compensation, the only truly ethical method of aquiring music is to do two things 1) don't listen to music on the radio, and 2) pirate the music you want, then send a check for what you would have paid directly to the artist. If the artist determines the publisher/distributor has been dealing fairly, let the artist then choose to send the publisher/distributor their cut, rather than the other way around.

Re:Wet Blanket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17297766)

There are 2 elements to your post
1. copyright
2. people who take advantage of the copyright system

"The incumbents are exercising their government-granted monopoly (copyright) and doing what rational monopolists do: collecting outrageous margins and delivering mediocre products and services. The pirates are violating the monopoly and distributing the products that only the incumbents have the rights to distribute. This costs them whatever it costs the incumbents to distribute the same products, plus the additional cost of fines, jail sentences, etc. when they are caught. Rational pirates pass these costs on to the customers, as well as charge whatever markup customers are willing to pay, but many pirates actually don't charge for their wares - meaning they are actually more like Robin Hoods than like actual pirates."

You have put a one sided slant to this situation. What about the GPL? Would you have (corporate) pirates or "Robin Hoods" violating the terms of the GPL? OOPS, did I just remind you that copyright has its uses and is necessary? If you don't like the way the copyright system is being manipulated then create your own works and distribute them in a way you like, or encourage others to do so, don't just go around 'stealing' (copying) other people's works.

Re:Wet Blanket (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17288996)

You're right- for the longest time DS and PSP games were freely available off of some Chinese gaming forums because the genuine article is far too expensive ($50 per game- PSP and DS games are the same price). This doesn't apply everyhwere, though- World of Warcraft uses a pre-paid system here- you pay depending on how long you play the game, so a $3.50 card could give you 20-odd hours, I think (I haven't checked, since I don't play it, but I know people in school who do- they told me that's how it was) so if you don't play a lot it's a lot cheaper than a fixed monthly fee (of course, you have to log on to Chinese servers but that's not a problem for a school in China, even if it is an international school). CDs, on the other hand, have no reason to be pirated. The genuine article is definitely priced to move reasonably in the market (legitimate CDs cost at most $10 here in China, and are usually around $5-7, but I still don't buy from RIAA-affiliated labels) so the people buying pirated CDs don't have a leg to stand on. Well, I'm being hypocritical- I bought pirated CDs often when I couldn't find what I wanted. J-Pop is so hard to find legitimately in China unless you're looking for Ayu or someone with similar international recognition, like BoA, and even then, they put on this DRM that only allows the CD to be transferred to MiniDisc and played back on PC with a player. (I wonder what the public response in the US would be if Sony Music used what they used here in China for its US market?) I'm going to be glad to be out of China, if only for my viewpoints, but I'm going to enjoy this while it lasts.
Note- this was posted at 2AM local time where I am so if it's somewhat incoherent, I apologize.

Re: Copyright Holders Sign China Piracy Agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287230)

Haha... This is funny FUD.

This sounds like a treaty? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287448)

I thought only the US Government was authorized by the Constitution to negotiate with foreign countries. It seems odd that industry trade associations are setting up de facto treaties without Congressional oversight.

Maybe I'm wrong... but if this is true, I think we give these sorts of associations far too much freedom.

piracy, privacy, whats the difference (1)

Edward Kmett (123105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17288152)

China probably thought they were signing an agreement to combat internet privacy.

Re:piracy, privacy, whats the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17288558)

This made me lol =)

Re:piracy, privacy, whats the difference (1)

apachetoolbox (456499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290830)

hehe :)

Why don't they cause uproar like Google or Yahoo? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17288944)

Google and Yahoo conduct business in China and get slapped in the face over it in general media. Ok, I don't condone Yahoo giving away information on Chinese dissidents, but Google just blocked parts of access according to Chinese law. Now Microsoft's & Adobe's marionette: the BSA and Sony/BMG/Warner's marionette: MPAA go sign a treaty that they give information on Chinese dissidents so that Chinese hitman can go whack them and nobody gives a shit?

Will this even make a difference? (1)

Langfat (953252) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290036)

Unlike the West, China has a large PHYSICAL pirate presence.

The expense of paying for a computer and monthly broadband charges seems ridiculous when you can head to your local corner and pick up the latest software/cd/movie for less than a dollar.

Re:Will this even make a difference? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293046)

But when you only make $3 per month in the WoW gold farm you work for, that adds up.
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