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China Announces Progress on Protecting Copyrights

  • Jamila Trindle

China says it had great success in its crackdown on intellectual property rights violations in 2007. Officials say there will be even greater vigilance for the Beijing Olympics in August. Jamila Trindle reports from the Chinese capital.

Last year, Chinese authorities confiscated over 110 million pirated products - books, magazines, movies, music and software.

Chinese officials Thursday said this is a result of a new intellectual property rights strategy that began last year. Yin Xintian, spokesman for the State Intellectual Property Office, says authorities will be even stricter this year, especially with Olympic merchandise.

"In order to make sure that the 2008 games are a great success China has improved the legal framework for IPR related to the Olympic Games," he said.

Yin dismissed the idea that even with increasing arrests and confiscations, the problem may be growing faster than government oversight.

At the same time, officials acknowledge it is difficult to educate the public about copyright protection. Shu Chao, deputy director general of the National Copyright Administration, says China needs more time.

"To be short, we only have a road map, we don't have a specific timeframe," Shu said. "That's to say we do have a goal as to completing how many enterprises."

Companies around the world complain that open piracy of their copyrighted goods goes on daily in China, as well as in much of the rest of Asia. Illegal copies of Western movies, books and fashions are sold in markets all over China. U.S. entertainment and software companies say they lose billions of dollars in sales each year in China because of piracy.

In one example, authorities in the United States are investigating a counterfeit operation they think has links to China, after they discovered $25 million worth of fake name brand products in New York and New Jersey.

Thursday, Chinese officials asked the international community to be patient. Besides the confiscating illegal products, they say, judicial protection of intellectual property rights is improving, patent applications are increasing and international cooperation is expanding.

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