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Program Hones in on Intellectual Property Rights

The European Union (EU) and the National Copyright Administration of China are focusing on ways to further improve enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), said officials attending a joint IPR exchange program on Monday in Beijing .


China will fight piracy and further educate the public on anti-piracy issues throughout this year, administration official Wang Ziqiang said.


Paul Vandoren, head of an IPR unit at the Directorate-General for Trade at the European Commission, said "tremendous change has taken place in China as the Chinese government has realized the importance of IPR protection. "


Vandoren, who has been concerned about China's IPR system since 1993, said he is very impressed with the progress of the IPR system in the country during the past two decades. And he is more concerned with IPR legislation and enforcement in the country.


China should do more to ensure an effective enforcement across the nation, he said.


The Chinese should also undertake additional efforts to implement regulations to ensure copyright holders of music and video products are paid from broadcasters, said Vandoren.


Currently, the country has no official regulations clearly defining payment rules from broadcasters to copyright holders for use of products that are not published.


Vandoren said he is glad to learn that China will soon set up a national intellectual property rights task group with Vice Premier Wu Yi as its leader. He hopes it will mobilize regional IPR administrations to approach more effective enforcement.


He said the EU will cooperate more with China's State Intellectual Property Office and other IPR-related departments to propel the country's IPR development.


Wang said the administration is actively working with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television to work out a regulation as soon as possible, so as to better protect copyright holders of music and video products.


He said China is also drafting rules to protect copyrights of works published on the Internet.


China did make remarkable progress on IPR protection over the past two decades, with patent, trademark and copyright laws and regulations basically meeting international standards, and judicial and administration enforcement being in parallel for supervision, said Wang.


However, piracy activities are still rampant in some areas because the public's IPR awareness is too weak due to 40 years of a planned economy.


Besides, with a 1.3 billion population and most residents having lower incomes, cheaper pirated products are all the rage in the market, he said. "We must further tighten anti-piracy activities to avoid those activities becoming more rampant."


He added that the Chinese government is willing to listen to opinions and suggestions from European and other countries.


The EU-China joint IPR program was prepared in 1996 and substantially implemented in 2000, aiming to propel China's IPR development across the country. It focused on training Chinese judges and lawyers, education within administrative departments and the public, and assistance to universities and research institutions.


The two sides have conducted mutual specialists exchanges and held a series of seminars.


(China Daily July 6, 2004)




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