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China Slams US Piracy Complaint

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the arr-break-out-the-cutlasses dept.

Software 346

bingoathome writes with a link to a BBC article on China's criticism of the US over its complaint to the WTO. The Bush administration is breaking its long-standing policy of backroom conversations with Beijing to condemn the country's continued 'failure to address copyright piracy and counterfeiting.' "The US says that China's failure to enforce copyright laws is costing software, music and book publishers billions of dollars in lost sales ... The US has been threatening a WTO complaint against China since 2005. It said on Tuesday that the two cases had been submitted to the WTO. One case claims that Beijing's poor enforcement of copyright and trademark protections violates WTO rules. The other contends that illegal barriers to hamper sales of US films, music and books. "

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dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (5, Insightful)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687041)

but how much do legal copies of dvd's sell for? Or rather, how much does the riaa/mpaa want to charge chinese consumers for a DVD ? $20? Maybe it's time for the riaa/mpaa to lower prices and compete with the blackmarket.. there is still money to be made, just don't expect chinese consumers to fork over 15% of their annual income for a lousy hollywood movie.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (4, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687055)

When I was there last year they seemed to charge around $5 for a legal copy, in the most expensive stores. You could buy the cheap-ass titles that nobody wants, without a hard cover, for around 50 cents at wal-mart, but I don't know if they were more legal than those sold on the streets for a similar price.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687315)

They weren't. A lot of the pirated copies in China and Russia look very convincing (no hand written titles on pieces of tissue paper), instead they are high quality reproductions of the originial artwork. The only cost the pirate needs to worry about is the cost of blank media (cents/copy), packaging (could be significant for a quality reproduction, say $1/copy), distribution (pay the person on the street who sells the stuff) + average cost of equipment and upkeep and that's about it. The rest is pure profit. So it is a good business. It is a good business for MPIAA for that matter as well, except they have to recover the cost of actually making the movie...

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (2, Informative)

monsted (6709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687609)

The only cost the pirate needs to worry about is the cost of blank media (cents/copy) [...]
Well, they have them pressed in a proper factory using regular CD/DVD fabs. This makes it even cheaper than typical blank media.

Hey, Windows/Linux refugees! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687059)

Still looking for the "maximize" button when your Mac has "zoom" [apple.com] instead? Take the hint, switcheurs: If you can't cope with seeing more than one window at a time, GTFO of our platform. The Mac wasn't designed for one-track minds.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (4, Insightful)

Ours (596171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687073)

I don't know about China but in the countries I've been in Asia, legal DVDs and computer games come real cheap compared to Europe. It's 1/4 of the price from what we pay in Europe. But that's hardly competing with the black market which has even lower prices. Still, I'd buy more DVDs and games if they where priced like the legal stuff in south-east Asia. But with the salaries these people have, they'll never pay more then black-market prices. Besides, why would they give a damn about US/European copyright owners? It's not like we've shown much in the way of caring for the working conditions they have to suffer to sell the stuff they make for us at super cheap prices.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (2, Insightful)

Illserve (56215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687549)

It's not like we've shown much in the way of caring for the working conditions they have to suffer to sell the stuff they make for us at super cheap prices.

Oh please, that is a grossly unfair criticism. What exactly are we supposed to do? Declare war on China if they don't legislate improved working conditions?

The WTO exists precisely for the purpose of arbitrating disputes of this sort. The US is following protocol for a legitimate concern.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (4, Insightful)

statusbar (314703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687827)

After the fiasco of the U.S.'s Canadian softwood lumber tax where the WTO ruled against the U.S. something like 5 times, I learned that the U.S. only follows WTO rulings when it suits them...

--jeffk++

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

Jack Sombra (948340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687969)

"The WTO exists precisely for the purpose of arbitrating disputes of this sort. The US is following protocol for a legitimate concern."
Except for the small issue of whenever the WTO rules against the US the US ignore them. So pretty hypocritical of the US trying to use the WTO to force others to do their bidding

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (2, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687971)

Oh please, that is a grossly unfair criticism. What exactly are we supposed to do? Declare war on China if they don't legislate improved working conditions?

I dunno, maybe something slightly less severe, like not making them our "preferred trading partner?" Something along the lines of refusing to trade with countries that don't have some minimum standard of working conditions?

And, yes, I know that means we'd have to pay more for consumer goods. It's still a much less costly option than trying to invade China.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1, Insightful)

Illserve (56215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688201)

I dunno, maybe something slightly less severe, like not making them our "preferred trading partner?" Something along the lines of refusing to trade with countries that don't have some minimum standard of working conditions?

And, yes, I know that means we'd have to pay more for consumer goods. It's still a much less costly option than trying to invade China.


It is not our business to run around the world ensuring that all workers are treated according to OUR standards, RIGHT NOW. All countries do things differently and for very different reasons. These people work at these wages because it's better than not working at any wages and children in Nike factories would be pretty pissed if their factory was shut down so that *you* could sleep easier at night.

The US went through its own period of poor working conditions, these things will be worked out.

Also remember that the global economy is a delicate organism. Radical changes, such as curtailing US/Chinese trade would be a Bad Thing (of the Great Depression variety). It'd be bad for you, bad for them, pretty much bad for everybody.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

Huwawa (923056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687085)

A government like China's can make people they don't like(e.g., journalists) "disappear" when they really want to. So to me, it doesn't look like they really care about piracy. And why should they? It doesn't really affect their economy...

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687303)

Oh they care about it.

It improves their economy, especially when they export the pirated items.

It typically brings a net influx of money, without an outflux. So, they care about it allright...

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687363)

Well, the us just labels a person-non-grata an enemy combatant and locks them away.

exactly where is the difference?

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687457)

I nominate this kind of comment for automatic internet argument loss. Especially when coming from an AC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_prot ests_of_1989 [wikipedia.org]

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687637)

I nominate this kind of comment for automatic internet argument loss. Especially when coming from an AC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_prot [wikipedia.org] ests_of_1989

The grantparent is off-topic, just like your reply is. Wh?

The fact that the USA locks up people without due process and such does in no way change what the Chinese did and do. Its the "but but.. they are much worse!!" type of argument.

Following the same line of thought, your comment about what the Chinese did is of no relevance for determining the wrongdoing of the USA.

As a matter of fact, both of you make invalid arguments.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (3, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687251)

I guess the fear might be that such cheap copies of hollywood crap will spill into the US and Western European markets and cut into the profits of RIAA/MPAA and friends. But then again in U.S. and Western Europe we have our broadband and Pirate Bay / BTJunkie / etc. so we can get our share of hollywood crap for $0.


there is still money to be made, just don't expect chinese consumers to fork over 15% of their annual income for a lousy hollywood movie


The problem, according to ??AA is that hollywood movies (all lousy at best, as you mentioned) are not necessities, in other words if the Chinese cannot afford them so be it, they shouldn't watch them. And leave it up to us, the "cultured" and "soffisticated" to pay $20 for garbage like that.


I would actually support hollywood cracking down on those who watch their crap and don't pay. Not because I like hollywood but because I hope people will realize that crap like that is really not worth paying for and/or risking a lawsuit and instead invest their money (that $20) in something better. The same goes for Microsoft, let them go after each pirate and remotely disable all of those "suspicious" windows installs. I think the majority of people who pirate windows already realized that the quality of the product they would be getting if they would buy it "fair and square" is not worth the price, and maybe then they'll switch to a free operating system (say Ubuntu) or pay money for a quality product (OS X).

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687507)

I guess the fear might be that such cheap copies of hollywood crap will spill into the US and Western European markets and cut into the profits of RIAA/MPAA and friends. But then again in U.S. and Western Europe we have our broadband and Pirate Bay / BTJunkie / etc. so we can get our share of hollywood crap for $0.


They already have. I have a friend who goes to China about twice a year. He comes back with nicely produced pirated copies of movies -- these have high-quality reproductions of original cover art, and they come in nice cases and everything. He pays maybe $1-2 (USD) a piece for them, some fetch as much as $5. Compared to U.S. prices, legal DVDs are cheaper, but not that cheap. He gets so many that once or twice a year, he sells a bunch in his neighborhood's semi-annual garage sale for $0.50 a piece.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (3, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687801)

If the Chinese can't afford to pay for Hollywood movies, then "Hollywood cracking down" would cost them money for enforcement, without bringing in any income from sales. So it will never happen.

What Hollywood want, of course, is for governments to enforce copyrights at the taxpayers expense. That doesn't cost them anything, except a little in bribes to make it happen.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (2, Interesting)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688047)

Makes me think of a discussion about game piracy I had a couple of days ago with a guy from a store downtown who imported original games. I said I like games, but they are way too expensive, so I use pirated copies. Of course he wasn't happy, but then he said he once talked to a representative from Sony about producing (pressing) games in the country instead of having to import them (shipping + taxes), and they repliead that they're not interested in the market (in Argentina).
So, i said "well, if they're not interested in the market, I'll just keep copying, they obviously don't care. If they change their minds, and want to make a realistic offer considering the average income here, I'll happily listen".

It's kind of catch-22, because one of the arguments they have for the lack of interest is the amount of piracy in the country, but the piracy itself grew because of high prices in the first place, which are made worse in no small part for import costs.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687409)

Here is an interesting article [wikipedia.org] about the regulation of prices in monopolies. The RIAA and MPAA realize that they will not make as much profit selling for $20 as they would for $5 in China. However, there is no way whatsoever they can compete with the black market if the law is not enforced.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687913)

In Malaysia, Bangkok and Vietnam (countries I've visited recently), the price of a pirated DVD is basically the same as a double-layer DVDR. The profit comes with mass production and it would no doubt be slightly more expensive to download the DVD9, buy a disc, and burn it, than to buy the pirated DVD of the street. The downside is that sometimes you get a telesync/cam recorded copy, or subtitles are screwed up. However, at least in Malaysia, after a few months of trying different shops, I'm at a 95 per cent success rate for pure DVD copies, with totally no downside to movie quality, the artwork, the box, the everything. I basically get the same piece of value for no more than 2 USD. So, here's the sweet part: Flying to Malaysia from Bangkok, I bought several proper legal retail DVDs at the airport. There wasn't a lot to choose from, but quite recent, quite highprofile movies such as Equilibrium and The Machinist (hey, I'm a fan...) were there and they were as retail as anything I'd get back home in Sweden. Price: 4 USD. That's what I'm prepared paying.

Re:dvd's cost a quarter in shanghai (5, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687977)

Lower prices??? are you MAD? how do we continue to pay the multi billion dollar salaries that these people RIGHTLY DESERVE for their work?

executives for the MPAA deserve a 7 figure income they work REALLY HARD.
Actors also deserve their 7 and 8 figure incomes, do you realize how incredibly HARD their work is?

Cripes working in a mine or foundry is pampered panzy work compared to what an actor has to deal with daily.

you people make me sick!

China might as well ignore WTO rulings (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687053)

just like the US does, if they don't like them:
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/04/02/10 35210 [slashdot.org]

MOD Parent UP (5, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687201)

Exactly, this is another case of classic US unilateralism. The US government use the UN, WTO and other international groups to get their own way with the rest of the world but then ignore those same groups when the rest of the world has its own issues.

I always remember when some US official was asked why the US didn't recognise the International court of Justice, he replied "because this would allow other nations to bring trials against OUR leaders". The US just doesn't get the idea of "international cooperation", you can't just use collaboration to get your own way without compromise. Perhaps it would help if the US realised that it isn't always right.

Not disagreeing with the basic premise (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687413)

But the world court thing is somewhat sticky because it gets in to constitutional issues. The Constitution is the highest law in the US, above even federal. It can only be changed by a 67% majority vote in congress, and then a vote from 75% of the states. Well, among other things, it guarantees citizens certain rights that the government can't take away (not that it doesn't stop them from trying from time to time). However if you say the world court has jurisdiction over US citizens, over the supreme court, then you are subjecting them to a court that doesn't recognise those rights. Not that they might not have a similar set, but the Constitution is pretty clear on this point.

That's the real issue here, but it highlights a problem with things like a world court. It is hard to have something like a world government when the world can't agree on what kind of laws it should have. I'm going to guess China has a real different idea of what speech should be criminal than the US does. Thus it is kinda hard to have a single judicial system that both would be under.

Re:Not disagreeing with the basic premise (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687525)

Exactly the reason for global anti-Americanism. Our consitution
is more important than any world court, but your constitution is
irrelevant. That anti-Americanism is entirely justified by
American hippocracy and chauvanism.

To any neigh-sayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687601)

American hippocracy and chevaunism are enough to get the rest of the world get on their high horse.

Re:Not disagreeing with the basic premise (2, Informative)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687599)


The Constitution is the highest law in the US, above even federal. It can only be changed by a 67% majority vote in congress, and then a vote from 75% of the states.


Actually the States can amend the Constitution without Congressional interference by holding another Constitutional Convention.

Re:Not disagreeing with the basic premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687633)

So the constitution doesn't allow it. So what? You could change the constitution if you really wanted. Lots of other countries with constitutions have managed to recognise the world court.
To everyone else in the world, this just comes across as "we don't care about justice, we'll do as we damned well like".

Re:Not disagreeing with the basic premise (3, Interesting)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687747)

However if you say the world court has jurisdiction over US citizens, over the supreme court, then you are subjecting them to a court that doesn't recognise those rights. Not that they might not have a similar set, but the Constitution is pretty clear on this point.

There are a few problems with this reasoning.

First of all, if the USA deals with USA citizens commiting war crimes or the other things the ICC deals with, then the ICC never comes into play. It only becomes a problem when the USA refuses to deal with war crimes or similar commited by its own citizens.

The ICC is a last resort for those cases where countries refuse to deal with things themselves.

The USA (as usual according to many) has had no problem whatsoever forcing such things onto others (going back to at least the end ofWorld War II, and much more recently, Serbia).

So, again the USA wants to force things onto others, while being exempt from those things itself. What is more, they want to be able to let war criminals go unpunished if that comes in handy for whatever reason.

because of this, I find the constitutional argument a weak one at best, a theoretical argument that as long as the US justice system works properly will never ever become more then theoretical.

Re:Not disagreeing with the basic premise (1)

RSquaredW (969317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687987)

The problem, of course, is that some one-third of the countries in the world are "free", according to Freedom House. This makes any international system subject to the concerted actions of blocs of undemocratic nations. Look at the UN Human Rights Commission, which has made almost all of its injunctions against Israel, rather than Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, or Uzbekistan - amongst others - which deserve far more criticism. Why? Because the OIC votes as a bloc to block (heh!) punitive measures against its members and affiliates, and to ram forward its own agendas.

The ICC would be subject to similar pressures - it wouldn't be Robert Mugabe standing trial, but Tony Blair (for example, and no matter what you think of Blair's decision to go along with the invasion, he's no Mugabe) - the U.S. fears frivolous accusations being given the weight of international law. We (the U.S.) should have no obligation to join an unjust international association just for the sake of being "international".

   

Re:Not disagreeing with the basic premise (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688163)

The problem, of course, is that some one-third of the countries in the world are "free", according to Freedom House. This makes any international system subject to the concerted actions of blocs of undemocratic nations. Look at the UN Human Rights Commission, which has made almost all of its injunctions against Israel, rather than Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, or Uzbekistan - amongst others - which deserve far more criticism. Why? Because the OIC votes as a bloc to block (heh!) punitive measures against its members and affiliates, and to ram forward its own agendas.

Hmm.. you mean like how the USA uses its veto every time any kind of punitive action against Israel is proposed?

Pot, meet kettle.

The ICC would be subject to similar pressures - it wouldn't be Robert Mugabe standing trial, but Tony Blair (for example, and no matter what you think of Blair's decision to go along with the invasion, he's no Mugabe)

Robert Mugabe should and hopefully will be dealt with by his own people. Same for Tony Blair. And I fully agree that Mugabe is a criminal, while I don't see that as clearly with regards to Tony Blair.

What you ignore in your reasoning however is that as long as the UK deals with this itself, the ICC is effectively powerless.

- the U.S. fears frivolous accusations being given the weight of international law. We (the U.S.) should have no obligation to join an unjust international association just for the sake of being "international".

No, you should join it and help it being a real platform for justice.

So far there are absolutely no incidents regarding the ICC that suggest your fear holds any water, rather, the opposite seems true.

The ICC is relatively small and has a limited capacity. The risk of frivolous lawsuits actually being accepted by the ICC is virtually zero as a result.

At any rate, sorry to say, but your opinion doesn't seem to be based on actual facts, rather it seems based on what would properly be called FUD.

Now, if the argument would be to disqualify countries from filing charges at the ICC unless they meet certain criteria of proper and fair government, that would be an entirely different story.

Re:Not disagreeing with the basic premise (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688043)

because I'm sure the Jews in Europe, Chinese or Koreans in East asia, or the ethnic Albanians in Serbia would never call for some form of court to hold people to crimes. no, it was the US because the US had so much to gain in any of those circumstances.....

Re:MOD Parent UP (4, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687445)

It's alright. US is already behind as far as technological progess goes. Our school systems are crap, our students math and science scores rank near the bottom of the civilized nation's scores. We have been in a stupid war for the last 5 years or so, we have overspent our money, our president is a moron and we are so scared of terrorists that we threw away democracy and freedom and put babies on the no-fly lists. Call me pessimistic and alarmist, but I see this country going downhill. It was a great country, it reached it's peak and now it is on a long an steady decline.

I think US will be in the position to bully others only for so long. Pretty soon we might have to be the ones taking orders...

The US was a great nation (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687631)

With bold people pushing the frontiers. When "don't ask what your country can do for you" actually meant something, when it wasn't a blurb spinned by politicians, but actually heeded by them and even the industry, too. Great men and women who wanted to push the boundaries and make the nation (or humanity as a whole) better and more advanced.

Today, the US is what the rest of the "civilized" world is: Fat and afraid. Fat and lazy, unable and unwilling to lift a finger and not caring about tomorrow, not caring what happens to the world around them as long as they can get rich without having to do anything for it. Inventive? At best in the "how to get rich by doing nothing" department.

And afraid that this might change.

Btw, don't feel left out if you're not from the US. That's pretty much true for most of Europe, too. When I look around myself, all I see is fat, lazy and very frightened people.

Re:The US was a great nation (1, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688129)

Btw, don't feel left out if you're not from the US. That's pretty much true for most of Europe, too. When I look around myself, all I see is fat, lazy and very frightened people.

Speaking as a European, you may be right about fat and lazy, but the fear is just in the USA.

Re:The US was a great nation (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688247)

You think? At least here, the "ohhh, fear, the terrorists are coming, we gotta build up (insert random surveillance shit here)" hype works wonders.

Even though I've never even seen a terrorist, nor that there was anything resembling at least a remote hint that somewhere close to here could have been some kind of peripheral indication of a possible threat in that area.

But "feeeear the terrorists" and everyone goes bonkers. Well, it might help that we do have a few immigrants from the near east and Turkey, and few people have ever met them and know more about them than that they sell revolving meat.

Re:The US was a great nation (0, Flamebait)

Illserve (56215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688265)

Speaking as a European, you may be right about fat and lazy, but the fear is just in the USA.

Speaking as an American living in Europe, you are an idiot.

Re:MOD Parent UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18688001)

You would think that given the UN and International Court crap was made by the US that they would have made it compatible with their own system.

Re:China might as well ignore WTO rulings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687365)

Wrong! I live in the US and I hope the WTO slaps us for the hypocritical gambling stance and I would rather see ALL gambling come offline. That way people have to put out some effort before ruining their lives. That doesn't mean we should give carte blanch to China for doing something that could potentially harm a lot more. China should be slapped as well.

Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687075)

Just because the US is wasting all its tax money for some dumb purpose doesn't mean China has to be dragged down with it. There are much better uses for this money (e.g. feeding their own starving farmers) than enforcing the feeding of rich Americans.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687237)

(e.g. feeding their own starving farmers) than enforcing the feeding of rich Americans.

I'd imagine there's similar (per capita) quantities of starving people in the US & China.

You dumbass.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687293)

Well you're wrong because poverty is much greater in china. Do your research before you call people dumbasses.

Re:Priorities (2, Interesting)

Gryle (933382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687623)

Well you're wrong because poverty is much greater in china.

[sarcasm]That's one mighty convincing arguement you have there.[/sarcasm] Seriously, where are your supporting facts or sources to back-up your claims? The burden of proof rests on you.

Interesting how they chose their battles. (3, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687083)

China and other countries produce and export lots of low quality counterfeit products, including drugs and mecanical parts that can endanger consumers health but the US Gov. is only mad about copies of overpriced products (usually made in China for dirt cheap BTW) to protect the profit of a few cartels.

Re:Interesting how they chose their battles. (3, Interesting)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687135)

..export lots of low quality counterfeit products,
Counterfeit yes. Low quality no. Many products come of the *same* production line with a slightly different logo (no serious retooling). Many "bootleg" CD's are printed from the same masters. The stuff is good. And cheaper. Also some of it is literaly stolen from the factory floor.

Re:Interesting how they chose their battles. (3, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687203)

Although what you are talking about about is a real phenomena (and a good reason not to outsource because you can't compete on either cost or quality in that case), there are also lots of workshops that produce totally fake products, usualy using materials that can barely look like the real product but are really cheap.

If your 0.49$ screwdriver bends, it is not a disaster, if those brakes you got for a tenth of normal price with no invoice do not work after 50 miles, it can be.

Re:Interesting how they chose their battles. (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687961)

Just follow the $$$.

Ignore the counterfeits for a moment. Every year for the last 22 years, the trade deficit with china has gone up. January alone was $25.6 BILLION http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700. html#2006 [census.gov] , up from $21.4 billion the previous January. With those numbers, WalUSMart is looking at a $300 billion trade deficit this year, just with China.

This could be a way for BushCheneyHalliburton to lay the groundwork for further import duties. Even a 10% across-the-board surtax would generate $30 billion (and you're probably looking at a rate more like 33% to 50%). Thats so much money its hard for them to ignore. Of course, it means that all those cheap imports get more expensive, but that only hurts the poor (in both countries), and there's no evidence Bush even knows the poor exist, except as cannon fodder.

Re:Interesting how they chose their battles. (1)

Illserve (56215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687513)

but the US Gov. is only mad about copies of overpriced products (usually made in China for dirt cheap BTW) to protect the profit of a few cartels

It's likely they're upset about all of them, but this particular form of piracy has the most egregious profit ratio. There is practically zero cost in creating these counterfeits while the US industry is effectively footing the entire bill for making the product.

Re:Interesting how they chose their battles. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687651)

The US population is footing that bill. The industry is producing with slave labour in far east anyway, the difference is only that the revenue is staying in the far east instead of the purses of the corporations.

Odd... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687099)

Strangely all the DVD shops I know of in Shanghai are closed today. There's still street vendors here and there however.

I imagine they'll be open again soon, but it shows that China cares to some extent.

Re:Odd... (1)

ebonum (830686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687775)

Where are you shopping? I count 4 shops in Shanghai between zhongshan gongyuan and ganghui xujiahui. :) You are right. Most of them have dropped off. Now you have to look down the small side streets. The average salary in a lot of parts of china is 2 - 3,000 USD. In Shanghai, it is closer to 5,000USD. There is a good reason these people don't buy 120RMB DVD's. Average workers here (people in stores, my ayi or maid, construction worker) make 8 or 10 RMB per hour. At 10RMB for a DVD, it is a little luxury. If there were no counterfeit DVDs, there would be essentially zero sales. Zip. US studios are not losing a billion dollars a year here in sales due to counterfeiting. Back track 10 years, before file sharing, and think about how many DVD's the studios would sell in the US at over $100 a copy. Due to the prevalence of American entertainment that is so readily available here, there is a large base of consumers in China that are accustomed to and desire American entertainment. They have very little money to spend, but that will change. Give it 10-15 years. The bottom line is that the studios have reaped a HUGE benefit from the piracy. They now have a large number of _potential_ consumers. Ten years ago, they didn't know about american DVD's and they didn't care. If there was never any piracy here, the Chinese would still be watching all Taiwanese or dubbed Honk Kong movies and TV, and would have to be converted through huge, and expensive, advertising campaigns. Another thing. The real CD's and DVD's here that I have seen are 100 -> 160RMB. They are about the same price as in the US. Concerning DVD's shipped from China to the US, I really don't know about that. In NYC, I remember that 4 years ago all the street vendors were selling locally made copies from the Bronx or somewhere else nearby.

Hmph (2, Insightful)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687109)

The US' argument might have carried more weight if it hadn't been authored by Joe Biden.

Seriously, though, is this a surprise to anyone? If China will run over defenseless people with an armored personnel carrier, who would expect them to honor the property rights of people who are not from The Celestial Kingdom?

And if the US' only economic advantage over China is in entertainment, is it surprising that they'd go after this?

Re:Hmph (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687131)

Entertainment could be an economic advantage, but I don't really see the advantage of declaring economic warfare with the country where most of the blockbuster DVD are made. What if they forget to ship some of them on time, introduce "errors" or sell copies to the pirate scene weeks before the release date (oops, my mistake, they are already doing that last part).

Re:Hmph (1)

Huwawa (923056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687195)

Agreed. Big shot in the foot for the administration to start picking fights with China. The fact that they manufacture everything that the U.S. and others use is the only reason we don't have an embargo with China like we do with Cuba. Money talks.

Re:Hmph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687243)

If it comes to a head china could cripple the US.... The US far more dependent on cheap foreign labour to maintain lifestyle levels.

My guess is this 'idea' came from a typical short sighted government moron messing with the traditional process / relationship with china.

What about piracy in the US? (3, Insightful)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687117)

They are already having one hell of a hard time fighting piracy in such a policed country as the US, how exactly do they expect China with its 1.3 billion citizens to tackle this problem?

Also, seeing the poverty and corruption problems in China, I sure hope that they use their money to make life better for their own citizen, then maybe they can start pumping money into an impossible to achieve goal...

Re:What about piracy in the US? (1)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687593)

They are already having one hell of a hard time fighting piracy in such a policed country as the US, how exactly do they expect China with its 1.3 billion citizens to tackle this problem?

That's a damned good point.

It made me think (somewhat tongue in cheek):
China ought to file a complaint with the WTO, stating that the US is not respecting intellectual property laws, and it is costing them billions of dollars (pull a number from a hat, everyone else does) in their plastics manufacturing industries, DVD pressing industry, book manufacturing industries. etc... After all, if the US would only change their laws to allow for easier police monitoring (like the Chinese have), the US could stop a lot more internal piracy.

The US position seems to have little to do with the fairness intended by trade organizations, and more to do with hypocrisy and protectionism.

there's a difference (1)

eean (177028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687721)

There isn't much for-profit piracy in the US. In China it is apparently widespread. Shops openly doing business in pirated goods, which is the foundation of the US WTO complaint.

I think its all kind of ironic given how there was a lot of opposition to China joining the WTO by protectionist in the US. It may end up that the WTO is our tool to open CHina to all our awesome movies and expensive copies of Vista. And I can't think of a better thing for Linux then if China stopped pirating Windows. So go kick some ass WTO! :)

All your software are belong to us !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687121)

All your software are belong to us !!

We are the chinese !!
We are the chinese !!
No time for losers
Cause We are the chinese
Of the world

I've paid my dues
Time after time
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I've made a few
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through

We are the champions my friends
And well keep on fighting 'til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
Cause we are the champions of the world

I've taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortuen and everything that goes with it
I thank you all

But it's been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain't gonna lose

We are the champions my friends
And well keep on fighting 'til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
Cause we are the champions of the world

So when will the US pay *us* back? (1, Flamebait)

Rycochet (1006897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687171)

Considering how long America refused to recognise the copyright of other countries, in fact it's not even 20 years since they started, does that mean we all get a big apology and a huge payout for the lost billions (after inflation) that their bigotry has cost??

I thought not...

Re:So when will the US pay *us* back? (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687519)

Considering how long America refused to recognise the copyright of other countries, in fact it's not even 20 years since they started, does that mean we all get a big apology and a huge payout for the lost billions (after inflation) that their bigotry has cost??

For the clueless amongst us (myself included) can you explain what you're talking about?

I can partially fill in : (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687735)

Books for example where willfully copied completely from their European counter part publication, and reprinted without royalty in the US for a very long time.

Re:So when will the US pay *us* back? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687753)

From the wikipedia page on the Berne convention:
"The United States refused initially to become a 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 as well as elimination of mandatory copyright notice). However, on March 1, 1989, the US "Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988" came into force and the United States became a party to the Berne Convention."

In short, before 1989 you'd better register it and include a "(c) All rights reserved".

Re:So when will the US pay *us* back? (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688055)


"The United States refused initially to become a 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 as well as elimination of mandatory copyright notice). However, on March 1, 1989, the US "Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988" came into force and the United States became a party to the Berne Convention."


As everyone can now see, signing the Berne Convention has brought nothing but trouble to the US. Before that the default was for works to be in the public domain and creators had to register for protection. And what really gets me is we did it at a time when creating an electronically searchable database of copyrighted works was becoming a real possibility. I have a great respect for the modern liberal ideals of Europe and would like to see the US incorporate many of them, but Berne is simply unforgivable.

Re:So when will the US pay *us* back? (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687823)

I believe this is a consequence of things like the Berne convention and automatic copyright.

Copyright has been 'automatic' for a long time in for example Europe, but not so in the USA, hence, for a long time to get your copyright recognized in the USA, you had to register it in the USA, else no copyright protection for you.

The other way around, US produced material has had copyright protection in Europe for a long time.

As a result, there was no problem for those in the USA 'pirating' productions from outside the USA since the automatic copyrights were simply not recognized, while things produed in the USA would be protected in for example Europe.

WTO should say (4, Insightful)

jhines (82154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687183)

And you the US, are gonna do WHAT about the on-line gambling issue that didn't go your way?

Re:WTO should say (2, Insightful)

erroneous (158367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687221)

Exactly.

The USA's record of obeying WTO rulings that have gone against it is absolutely abysmal.

The fact that they are running to a body that they themselves have made toothless shows that their influence over China has waned to virtually nil.

They've been the only global superpower for close to two decades now, but China and India are very rapidly joining that group and the US is going to have to get used to much, much less going their way.

Re:WTO should say (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687881)

Probably the same thing we did about the US import duties on steel.

We'll bitch and kvetch and stall. And eventually we'll give up if they're at all serious about it.

Just one question: (0, Flamebait)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687193)

Who cares?

the Injust Trade Barriers - Oh My! (2, Insightful)

Oriental_Hero (72624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687265)

LOL, I love it when the US protests against illegal trade barriers. Surely the foreign steel tariffs and more recently the Brazilian Ethanol/Biofuel tariffs do just the same...!

And someone else posted about China running over it's own ppl in APCs. Need I mention WACO or Rodney King or how about the recent Blue on Blue incident where the US Air Force with 2 A10s blows the crap out of a British Convoy that had the correct orange markers denoting friendlies?

All this proves though is that we can both relate completely unrelated but similar instances of injustice. We should stick to the topic in question which is trading rights between countries and the effect of piracy efforts.

Re:the Injust Trade Barriers - Oh My! (1)

Popsmear (828416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687731)

I assume you mean the 2 A-10s firing on Canadians, not British? This was a sad, yet accidental act.
How the hell does WACO relate to this anyway? It really has no bearing to what you are talking about. Overuse of force? LOL.
Rodney Kind is piece of human crap.

Re:the Injust Trade Barriers - Oh My! (1)

ohearn (969704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688227)

You bring up a good point whether you meant to or not. The US can easily recover a lot of the lost money and do wonders to even out the trade deficit by just putting a tarriff on all goods coming in from China. Of course I'm sure that the major retailers like Walmart would pull in every favor they had to stop such a thing.

What about chinas IP and Art? (2, Informative)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687279)

I'm going to raise something which will probably be greeted with blank stares...

What about Chinas IP/Cultural penetration in the US? Where's the Chinese equivalent of Britney? What about the Chinese authors in the NY times best sellers list? They account for a large proportion of the world population.

Perhaps China feels that the Cartel media structures of the US are not fairly promoting foreign IP and art?

Re:What about chinas IP and Art? (1)

bradavon (1066358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687321)

America always has been very closed to outside media. It's very hard for a European let alone Asian musician/film to break America. A few British (in particular) musicians break through and of course many British actors but try selling a British film in The States. From what I can tell Americans mostly are only interested in American media. I agree with your comment btw. The thing is there is a Chinese Britney but we'd never have heard of her.

Re:What about chinas IP and Art? (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687383)

I'm not sure that China (Or other neighbouring Asian countries) really think too much about American market penetration. The Chinese equivalent of Spears is alive and well right here in Asia with an audience numbering somewhere around the billion mark.

Re:What about chinas IP and Art? (1)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687385)

Huh?

It's not America's job to produce Chinese art. Nor does it make any sense.

America should produce the art it wants to produce and China should either pay for it or not. But if not, the alternative is not to steal.

Blank stares indeed (1)

Aaron England (681534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687635)

Foreign countries have to overcome a person's preference for entertainment from within their own culture as elements of the entertainment tend to get lost in translation. It just so happens, partly due to American's wealth that our entertainment business generates more revenue than most small countries. This means we spend a lot more money on production on average too. This is why you are far more likely to see an American television show played in a foreign country than the other way around. It's very hard to compete with that, but no one is stopping foreign states from promoting their art and culture.

Alternatively (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687771)

Alternatively, entertainment producer in the US, do produce for the "lowest common" denominator possible, and thus can sell in many country of various culture and still be accepted. In other word, they sell outside because there is "not much brainpower" really left in such entertainment. Mind you it does not seem to work for all country and culture.

Re:Alternatively (1)

Aaron England (681534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687843)

But if it was that easy, then every entertainment business around the world would be cashing in on the "American media model". I think the formula for media success is far more intriciate than that.

Piracy is such a way of life in some Asian . . . (3, Interesting)

bradavon (1066358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687289)

Piracy is such a way of life in some Asian countries that sellers blatantly sell copied DVDs and CDs on the streets without any perceived concern they could be arrested. The police completely turn a blind eye. In Thailand and Malaysia it's so blatant it's ridiculous. They even have many DVDs you cannot even buy in the respective country due to not being released or even banned, films banned or censored by the Thai censors are regularly available completely uncut. The sellers do nothing to even hide what they're doing. This barely happens period in Europe or North America, why? Because the police actually crack down, close down and prosecute bootleggers. You may see the odd market seller but that's it. Interestingly Japan has created an expensive limited edition culture that you'd think would help piracy but instead people prefer to own official merchandise.

Re:Piracy is such a way of life in some Asian . . (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687509)


They even have many DVDs you cannot even buy in the respective country due to not being released or even banned, films banned or censored...


Since censorship and withholding information are bad making these DVDs available has to be a good thing.

Re:Piracy is such a way of life in some Asian . . (5, Interesting)

samuraiz (1026486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688015)

Since censorship and withholding information are bad making these DVDs available has to be a good thing.
YES! This is the precise point I came to this thread to make.

Let me tell you what is playing in Beijing cinemas right now: Flyboys, Sixteen Blocks, A Night at the Museum, Eragon, and probably a Hong Kong flick or two.

Not to pass judgment on any of these movies in particular. I enjoyed a couple of them, myself. But do you see the pattern? These are the most popcorn, inconsequential, and super-commercial of Hollywood's output. There isn't a challenging, thought-provoking moment among them. It was a national event when we got Casino Royale, "uncut!" (Those might have been projection glitches, but I have my doubts.)

I mention this because movies are only approved for legal DVD sale if they can pass the censorship to make it into theaters in the first place. The studios are full of shit when they claim that they're losing money, because there are no legal DVDs worth buying in the first place. The legal movies are pretty cheap, they have decent Chinese subtitles, and they're certainly easier to get than the pirated stock. People aren't buying for the same reason ticket revenues are down in the States: the movies suck.

Do you want to see the award-winning art movie that everybody on the internet is talking about? If you're in China, you have to buy it off the street or in a hidden back room. If a Chinese person wants to see a piece of provocative film art about their own country, they have to buy a pirated copy. Even the better popcorn fare is banned: we didn't get Dead Man's Chest because the yarr matey pirates are a bad moral example to the tender, innocent Chinese public.

I work in the Chinese film industry, making domestic commercial movies. We probably lose money to movie piracy (although it was virtually impossible to find an illicit copy of Curse of the Golden Flower- which shattered Chinese BO records). But part of the job description at the office is to stay on top of international trends. There are only two ways to do that: piracy in the office, or massive travel budgets to send the whole office to Hong Kong every couple of weeks- which we can't do either, because the Chinese citizens in the office aren't free to travel there unrestricted.

I know it's too much to ask for principled international leadership from my mother country, but if the United States government would pull their heads out of the MPAA's ass for one minute, I might hope that they would see that piracy isn't what's killing Hollywood's profits in China- the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television is. And they're keeping the domestic industry at a third-world level while they're at it.

How about some WTO threats about that?

(Also, while I'm dreaming, if they could apply some pressure to make the Chinese fish less lead than fish and the air more air than choking soot, that would be fantastic.

Why do I live here, again?)

Re:Piracy is such a way of life in some Asian . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18688267)

I am looking forward to seeing Curse of the Golden Flower in the cinema on friday when it comes out, but none of my workmates are interested - they will probably pirate it from bittorrent (damn pirating westerners!) and/or think that the chinese "genre" has been "done to death" already what with 3 decent films already out (sheesh!). Frankly that is the sort of film which you should see in the cinema, and leave the thought-provoking arthouse stuff for the tiny TV screen.

USA ? (-1, Offtopic)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687311)

By US here should we assume M$crosof$ ? I thought it already had in place systems for online activation and such especially in vista. Why can't they ban the whole IP address block of china from activation ? Or is it not that simple ?

Apparently RIAA lost hope in people of U.S. (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687343)

you there in u.s. have been putting quite a fight lately in lawsuits. you are not easily intimidated and fooled as before. its becoming costly.

and china is a bigger market. country is already repressive. it wont be too hard to force down exorbitant prices to 1.5 billion people there.

tsk tsk tsk. bad americans you. no soup for you.

Re:Apparently RIAA lost hope in people of U.S. (1)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687373)

Sorry to break it to you, but stealing IP is bad.

Bad China.

Tsk Tsk Tsk.

Re:Apparently RIAA lost hope in people of U.S. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687499)

Sorry to break it to you, but forcing exorbitant prices for products that cost pitiful to produce through practical monopoly is worse.

Re:Apparently RIAA lost hope in people of U.S. (2, Insightful)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687649)

No, it's not.

Price is not a product of the cost of production. It is a function of the value people see in it. If they don't want to pay the cost of the IP, they don't get it.

Condoned? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687431)

Is it truly piracy when companies/people in China are basically emulating what the Chinese government teaches them? Heck, look at China's military, would they be anywhere close to where they are today without "piracy?" I think not.

Re:Condoned? (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687907)

Is it truly piracy when companies/people in China are basically emulating what the Chinese government teaches them? Heck, look at China's military, would they be anywhere close to where they are today without "piracy?" I think not.

If you would have said copying instead of piracy, your statement would have been a lot more to the point and actually somewhat insightfull.

Of course, it is exactly how the USA got to where it is now as well.

Maybe this is an entirely new idea for you, but virtually all progress of humanity is the result of copying eachother. Sure, there are truely new things invented or produced every now and then, and that is the real progress, but that could not happen if everyone was spending time reinventing the wheel over and over.

World War III (1, Funny)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687435)

WWIII wont about oil or religion, it will be about copyright infringement

Re:World War III (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687643)

How? By dumping pirate dvd to each other?

No single cause (1)

nten (709128) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688019)

The world wars weren't due to a single cause, we just remember the big ones from history class. The parent isn't funny, its disturbing due to its insight.

They don't give a shit! (1)

qazsedcft (911254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687639)

Frankly China doesn't give a shit! If the US wants to impose sanctions they're going to be hurting themselves more than China. They can threaten all they like. China should just ignore them.

The US can't give a foot here. (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18687707)

Looking at the import/export bill, if they gave any leeway to the counterfeiters would be a desaster. Let's look at the import/export bill.

Agriculture? Well, the US has a lot of agriculture, no doubt. Still, it is highly dependent on imports and the exports don't mean a lot (especially with lots of them going to countries that won't ever pay).

Industry? Well, considering that it's way cheaper to produce in the far east, and with Japan and the other Tigers pretty much owning the high tech market (let's shroud the car industry in silence, to protect the guilty), it's not really a big source of foreign money.

Resources? Ever looked at that oil bill alone?

So what's left for exports from the US? Simple: Services and "virtual goods" (IP, content, information, entertainment).

Now, exporting services has a simple problem: You can't ship a haircut around the world. People have to come to your country with their money and spend it there. And if I look at the immigration requirements (even if I promise that I really, really wanna leave again, I wouldn't want to stay there longer than I have to, honestly, I have my ticket here...), I can understand that fewer and fewer people actually want to spend a vacation in a country where the gamble (whether you actually see more of it than a prison cell 'cause you remind someone of someone else) already starts at the airport.

So what's left is virtual property. Content and so on. That's still where the US shines. Movies and music is still a strong export article of the US. Computer programs (Windoze, anyone?), intellectual property and patents held by US corporations...

Imagine what the foreign trade balance would look like if the US backed off here.

A sad commentary on our nation... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687781)

Pretty sad that our biggest beef with China trade-wise is over the profits of the entertainment industry rather than the human rights and pollution issues of their industries that want to sell products here.

us senators! (1)

doktr thunder (591704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688207)

this reminds me of a story I heard from one of my friends involved in democratic-party politics. Some (although my friend WOULD NOT tell me his name) senator was in beijing on an official visit and my friend was in the LIMO with him as a guide for the "must see" places.

Long story short, the senator immediately asks to goto the best place for cheap movies and he takes him to various pirated music/dvd shops and the senator loads up on pirated shit, which, of course, won't be touched at customs. I imagine he went to dirty-karaoke afterwards too...

probably the same asshole who voted for dmca and gets paid-off by disney treats himself on our time. Hell he was probably there speaking out against copyright infringement like arnie.

I'm sure this illustrates some profound point about the digital age... anyway fucking HYPOCRITES!

Another chapter from (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688211)

George Bush's, "How to win friends and influence people."
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