Piracy problems continue for Europe in China

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BRUSSELS -- Copyright violations continue to pose major problems for European companies in China, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said in a report Wednesday.

The report said that, while Chinese authorities have taken a number of measures to combat the flagrant copying of movies, music and software, piracy is still rife and undermining the efforts of European businesses looking to break into the market.

Chamber president Joerg Wuttke said that, although bilateral trade between the EU and China topped €250 billion ($347 billion) in 2006, more can be done to promote legitimate commerce.

He said that China has made "visible progress" in protection of intellectual property rights through such measures as training judges, stepping up enforcement and creating nationwide IPR complaint centers where infringements can be reported. But he also noted that piracy problems continue to outpace solutions and that the government is beginning to lose momentum in tackling the issue.

Wuttke said that protecting IPR remains a "major concern" for European businesses and called for greater consistency in local enforcement of laws and regulations and more effective deterrence against IPR infringements.

"For example, to obtain a business license as someone who's selling fake DVDs is sometimes faster than obtaining a business license as a European retailer who wants to sell indigenous, real DVDs," he said.

Part of the problem is that many government agencies are understaffed and there is often poor implementation at the local level, Wuttke said.

China accounted for 93% of the 23.2 million counterfeit movies, music and software seized by EU customs authorities in 2006, an increase of 139% from 2005.
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