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City Shows Results of Pirated Goods Crackdown
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In order to clean up the audio and video product market and better protect intellectual property rights (IPR), the State Council launched a large-scale operation in September 2004 to crack down on IPR infringements nationwide.

Dozens of governmental departments are involved in the crackdown, including the Ministry of Commerce, local publication administrations, police forces and customs agencies, in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenyang.

In an operation about a month ago, Shenyang's Sanhao Street was one of the main targets in northeast China's Liaoning Province, where piracy is widespread.

Pirated audio and video products are sold mainly in two areas in Shenyang. One is in the south of the city on Sanhao Street and the other is in the Science and Technology Park of Liaoning University situated in north Shenyang, Wang Hongyu, head of Shenyang Anti-piracy Enforcement Team, said.

"These two hubs provided over 90 percent of all pirated compact disks (CD) to buyers. But now you can hardly find any pirated products there," Wang said.

The two markets involved in selling pirated audio and video products were closed down and 79 businesses had their licenses revoked.

Over 1.1 million audio-visual discs were confiscated and destroyed.

"In order to continue our watch on piracy, we have formed a law enforcement team to monitor these markets around the clock," Wang said.

Dealers of non-pirated audio and video products are benefiting directly from the campaign.

"My sales have tripled in the past month. And I plan to order a larger range of products after the Spring Festival," said Chen Tong, a software dealer on Sanhao Street.

"If piracy can be controlled and more customers purchase our copyrighted products, we can provide more of these products for cheaper prices in the future," said Feng Hongtao, manager of Dongke Audio and Video Chain Store.

Other dealers are not as optimistic.

"There is still a big gap between prices of legal and pirated products. Customers will continue to buy pirated products as long as there is a big price differential," a pirated products dealer, surnamed Tang, said. She declined to give her full name.

Many pirated products are sold for under 10 yuan (US$1.25) in Sanhao while the legal ones cost over 100 yuan (US$12).

Part of the solution therefore requires that China make available more copyrighted products to consumers.

In the meantime, it will continue with its hard-line approach to IPR violations.

Those found guilty of pirating more than 250,000 yuan's (US$30,000) worth of copyrighted products can be jailed for up to seven years.

(China Daily February 6, 2006)

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