China begins to clamp down on file swapping

July 2006

Record labels, internet

China has announced a new law banning the uploading and downloading of pirated material over the Internet as well as the production, import and supply of any technology that aids piracy. Under the new regulation, those who infringe copyrights may be fined up to RMB 100,000 and the computer equipment involved may be confiscated. Internet companies will also be required by the government to provide contact information for owners of sites that distribute pirated material. The move is part of China’s efforts to curb rising piracy rates in the country according to and will put pressure on online companies such as, China’s leading search engine. Baidu has been sued by the major record labels because its search function violated their copyrights by allowing users to find MP3 files on the Internet. The EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has warned China that the EU expects it to improve its IP enforcement measures, to improve access to the market for European products and to ‘apply rather than circumvent the rules’. Although improvements have been made, the EU argues that China is still not meeting its TRIPs obligations and that if things don’t change, the European market may be made less easy for Chinese producers to enter in a ‘protectionist backlash’. (with a number of useful links to other stories on copyright issues in China)

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