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Standing Firm Against Internet Piracy

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA) have sent separate letters to the China National Copyright Administration (NCA) to praise a special operation to crush Internet infringement and piracy as "hard but effective."

They also expressed their hopes for enhanced cooperation with the NCA, which shut down 76 websites, confiscated 39 servers, and ordered 137 websites to delete contents that violate regulations during an operation that lasted from September and December last year.

"This special operation has achieved its purpose and has been favorably looked upon by the public and overseas rights-holders' organizations," NCA deputy commissioner Yan Xiaohong told a press conference on Wednesday.

The administration also fined 29 websites 789,000 yuan (US$98,625) and transferred 18 suspected criminal cases to judiciary courts during the operation, Yan said.

According to Yan, the administration had received letters of complaint about piracy of literary works, music, TV series, films, software and computer games by October 31, 2005, of which 172 have been resolved.

Out of the 172 cases, 14 were reported by overseas rights-holders or rights-holders' organizations, including the IFPI and the MPA, he said.

However, Yan also acknowledged one special operation was not enough to eliminate Internet infringement, because like many other countries, China has not found the right approach yet.

"The Internet is boundless, with a huge memory and rapid transmission speed, so evidence of,piracy is hard to collect," Yan said, adding: "The NCA is addressed to setting up a long-standing mechanism of copyright protection in the Internet context. We still have a lot of work to do."

The State Council is expected to issue a statute on Internet information dissemination rights to regulate networks and fortify the defense of private and non-profit Internet websites, Yan said.

"We will continue to cooperate with rights-holders, social agencies and international organizations, including the IFPI and the MPA," he said.

China joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1980 and is party to two out of six of WIPO's international treaties, namely the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms.

Yan said that China is considering ratifying another two -- the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty - both focused specifically on copyright protection on the Internet.

Yan added: "Our goal is to create an environment favorable for both copyright protection and product dissemination."

(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2006)

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