China ‘not doing enough on software piracy’

En oubliant le chantage que la Chine impose sur les multinationales à faire du transfert technologique pour avoir accès au marché chinois.

Il ne respecte même pas les brevets, déjà existants.

Vive, la mondialisation sans restriction !

Extrait de: China ‘not doing enough on software piracy’, By Kathrin Hille in Beijing, Financial Time, October 24, 2011

The world’s leading software industry body warned on Monday of a jump in revenues lost to software piracy in China as the country’s government is failing to rein in rampant copyright infringement.

Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive of the Business Software Alliance, said pledges by the Chinese government to help foreign companies gain more revenues from software sales in China and high-profile anti-piracy campaigns had failed to deliver.

 “All that activity led us to believe that we’d see some fairly rapid reduction of software piracy in China,” Mr Holleyman said. “But none of what I’ve picked up with our companies indicates that they’re seeing the kind of economic growth associated with the sales of software.”

The remarks indicate that software market opportunities for companies such as Microsoft are unlikely to keep up with the pace of China’s PC market growth, and that intellectual property rights infringement will remain an irritant in relations with the US and China’s other leading trading partners.

In late 2010, the Chinese government, responding to growing criticism of its intellectual property rights protection record, promised in talks with the US that it would help increase foreign companies’ software sales in the country.

Since last year, Beijing has also been running a high-profile crackdown on the production and sales of pirated goods. The duration and scale of the campaign initially gave rise to cautious optimism among foreign industry executives that real change could be on the cards.

The US government even expressed cautious optimism in its annual report on intellectual property rights protection, saying Beijing’s special campaign against piracy might lead to “lasting improvements”.

But Mr Holleyman said:

“While [piracy as a] percentage of total software sales is coming
down somewhat, the US$ losses are exploding.”

He added that he expected multinational software companies to launch more legal action against Chinese counterfeiters as a result.

In China, 78 per cent of all software sold in 2010 was pirated, according to BSA’s 2011 Global Piracy Report, compared with a global average piracy rate of 42 per cent. While this is not among the world’s highest piracy rates, China created the second-highest economic damage through piracy as the industry lost $7.8bn in revenues to pirates last year. In the US, the damage was $9.5bn.

But China is expected to overtake the US in that ranking soon as it is set to surpass the US as the world’s largest PC market by unit shipments next year.

Extrait de: Theme park opens new front in copyright wars, By Patti Waldmeir in Changzhou, China, Financial Time, July 30, 2011

As China moves from a culture of fakes to a culture of innovation, the copycats are also getting more creative – designing better and better knockoffs that pose an increasingly stiff challenge to foreign companies that do business there. From fake iPods to phoney Apple stores, Chinese pirates are moving up the value chain.

In the low green hills of eastern China near Changzhou, the boundaries of piracy may be pushing even further with a theme park based on the global online gaming blockbuster, World of Warcraft – a dream come true for gamers, in a country where addiction to the internet is so common that it is treated in hospital.

Dominating the Joyland park is a section called Mo Shou Da Lu, a World of Warcraft lookalike whose name incorporates a trademark registered in China by the WoW owners, Blizzard Entertainment, for use in connection with things such as amusement parks.

The park has Taobao Street – which has stores whose staff say they are authorised Disney, Ultraman and Hello Kitty retailers. And in the World of Warcraft section – with its distinctive neo-medieval architecture and sombre colour scheme – visitors are greeted by a sweaty young man on stilts wearing a wolf’s head.

 “That’s Wolfman!” says a passing youth, naming a popular World of Warcraft character.

Visitors can take a tour of World of Warcraft landscapes in the Journey of Dangers ride and buy a Rmb1,600 ($250) WoW sword from a storekeeper who claims the merchandise is authorised by Blizzard.

Blizzard says it is “looking into the situation” at the park but did not license its intellectual property to the attraction. Huanqiu Dongman Xixi Gu, the company that operates the park, declined to comment.

One WoW fan says the park is “80 per cent” similar to the game: but 80 per cent may not be enough to make it a violation. Legal experts say determining when a fake violates the law is never an easy question in any country.

In China, it is arguably even harder – and winning such cases is tough because courts often use the law as a tool of local favouritism.

Beijing says it wants to crack down on piracy, and has held a nine-month anti-piracy campaign closing down 12,000 factories making counterfeit products.

But many foreign companies think it is useless to try to protect their intellectual property in China, says Horace Lam, an IP expert at the law firm Jones Day in Beijing. “A lot of US companies complain about how bad the situation is in China”, he says. “But their IP protection is a joke”.

Starbucks, for example, failed to register its Chinese trademark, Xingbake, before a rival, which opened cafés bearing a lookalike Starbucks logo and the same Chinese name. Starbucks eventually won that case, partly because Xingbake has no meaning independent of its connection with the US coffee company – but other businesses with less distinctive trademarks might not be so lucky, legal experts say.

The Joyland park is arguably an example of a new kind of Chinese copying: “shanzhai”: fakery, but with value added, such as taking a virtual world, and recreating it in the Chinese countryside. The head of the China National Copyright Administration, Liu Binjie, says “shanzhai shows the cultural creativity of the common people. It fits a market need, and people like it.”

Elliot Papageorgiou, of the IP law firm Rouse in Shanghai, says some element of copying has always been part of innovation: “As Sir Isaac Newton said, ‘If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’ ”. Making money from the intellectual property of others is permitted in China – so long as that use of the IP is not protected by law.

Joyland is where China’s new culture of innovation meets the old culture of copying – in a no man’s land where foreign companies will increasingly have to learn to operate.