China org pledges aid in piracy battle

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BEIJING -- The National Copyright Administration of China has agreed to raise efforts to fight the online piracy of movies, software and literary works in cooperation with overseas industry groups, the Motion Picture Assn. said over the weekend.

The NCAC joined the MPA, the Business Software Alliance, the Association of American Publishers and the Publishers Association of the U.K. in signing a memorandum of understanding designed to broaden cooperation in the protection of intellectual property rights as the number of Internet users in China swells and illegal downloads continue to rise.

MPA data shows that its member studios lost $94 million in potential revenue to illegal downloads in China last year.

The memorandum was signed Friday, the last day of a visit by a delegation of U.S. cabinet officials, and came just as a group of local experts called for China to do more to protect IPR in order to attract foreign investment.

"Some multinationals hesitate to cooperate with China due to concerns over IPR issues," Wu Yikang, senior advisor of the Chinese Association for International Science and Technology Cooperation, told the Xinhua news agency.

Under terms of the memorandum, the NCAC, one of many government bodies responsible for the enforcement of China's nascent legal framework for copyright protection, will receive information from the MPA and others about which copyrighted materials have been released for legal online distribution.

The memorandum provides no written guarantee that the NCAC will return results showing how it has put the information provided to use, an MPA spokesman said.

"It is our expectation that we will be provided with news about the results of referred cases and that, during our regular reviews of the agreement, we will have opportunities to mutually assess results and measure progress," the MPA spokesman said.

The office of Yan Xiaohong, vice minister of the NCAC and a signer of the memorandum, did not answer calls by press time.

MPA vp and Asia Pacific regional legal counsel Frank Rittman said that China and the foreign industry associations are "partners in the same enterprise: building up legitimate and successful markets for copyrighted works in China and fostering revenue growth."

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