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Public Urged to Fight Against Piracy
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This week sees the start of a nationwide series of events aimed at putting the public at the very heart of efforts to protect intellectual property rights.

Now in its fourth year, IPR Protection Publicity Week will be launched at a ceremony held in Beijing's Chaoyang Park on Friday morning. The event runs until April 26.

Ahead of the official launch, a lecture tour entitled, "Copyright Protection and Building an Innovative Country" begins in Beijing, before heading to a minimum of four other cities and possibly as many as nine.

Lectures will be delivered by experts from government agencies, academic institutions, and enterprises, and will include Long Xinmin, minister of the General Administration of Press and Publications, and Wu Handong, president of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law.

Law students are also being invited to join in the nationwide campaign by taking part in a debating competition on copyright protection. Representatives from eight of the country's top universities will battle it out, with the opening round taking place on Saturday between Tsinghua University and Renmin University of China.

Wang Ziqiang, director of the copyright department of the National Copyright Administration, said: "The government's commitment to cracking down on piracy is resolute. We have made great strides in developing institutional systems and regulations, but these are useless if we do not have the support of the public."

This year, in the judicial sector alone, 14 IPR-related laws, regulations, rules and administrative measures will be drafted, formulated or revised.

Wang called on the public to be more aware of the need for IPR protection and "to gradually reduce and eradicate those who profit from the sale of pirated CDs, DVDs and other illegal publications.”

Chen Huaiwang, a student at Renmin University, said: "It is important for university students to raise awareness and to resist buying pirated goods. Our country will lose its originality and creativity if we do not protect IPR."

Efforts to crack down on counterfeiters are reaping results. Over the weekend authorities in 31 provinces and municipalities destroyed 42 million illegal publications and electronic media discs.

Consumer Liu Sheng said she was trying to cut down on purchasing pirated CDs and DVDs.

"I try not to buy pirated ones now, except movies I want to watch immediately," Liu told China Daily. "Even the number of pirated CD and DVD vendors is decreasing now."

Wen Zaixing, deputy secretary-general of the State Office of Intellectual Property Protection said that the nationwide publicity week, which was inaugurated in 2004, has become an important platform from which to spread knowledge and details of regulations on IPR protection across every social stratum.

He said that with the participation of the public, the country's IPR protection campaign could reach new heights.

The publicity week will also include forums and special events involving 18 government ministries. These will embrace topics such as China's principles and position on IPR protection, laws and regulations and international conventions, new examples of commercial innovations, and typical IPR protection cases.

This year, authorities are also keen to encourage the public to report cases of IPR violations via complaint service centers, which exist in 50 major cities and can be contacted via the hotline number 12312.

(China Daily April 17, 2007)

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