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Long-term Strategy to Fight Piracy
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The Ministry of Culture has worked out a long-term supervision mechanism for the audio and video products markets to carry on the success of the country's 100-day crackdown on piracy.

The mechanism, based on the principle of "stringent management and tough punishment," orders both routine checks and occasional raids of CD and DVD stores, and the establishment of a register of offenders, according to a ministry official.

Local cultural departments have been requested to cooperate with industry and commerce, police and transport departments to clamp down on street peddlers and other unlicensed distributors, and to break the transportation and sales network for pirated goods.

Local cultural departments are also required to assess the performance of companies and stores in the business of providing audio and video products every six months.

The names of offenders will be publicized in the media and special records made of those found with a cache of more than 1,000 illegal copies.

Chinese police reported on Sunday that they had confiscated more than 6 million pirated publications by the end of August as part of the 100-day crackdown.

Local police raided more than 32,000 publication markets and distribution companies, and closed down 355 companies that produced illegal copies in bulk, according to a report by the Ministry of Public Security.

The campaign started on July 25 and is said to be unprecedented in terms of its duration and number of government departments involved.

In a related development, five major US motion picture companies have filed a lawsuit against a Beijing firm for allegedly selling pirated movies, a Beijing court confirmed yesterday.

The plaintiffs -- 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, and Columbia Pictures -- are demanding that Beijing Shiji Haihong Commerce and Trade Company and its subsidiary video shop pay each of them 500,000 yuan (US$62,908.9) in damages, stop selling their movies and issue an apology.

The movies named in the case to be heard by the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court are: The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Mr & Mrs Smith, War of the Worlds, The Incredibles and Bewitched.

The action taken by the US companies is unusual because foreign companies typically turn to government departments for assistance in such matters due to concerns over lengthy trials and low compensation from the courts.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily September 13, 2006)

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