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Copyright Holders Sign China Piracy Agreement 32

eldavojohn writes "On Friday, a whole bunch of associations signed an agreement with China to combat internet piracy. From the article, "China's National Copyright Administration said the country would investigate and punish those suspected of online intellectual property abuses by the movie association as well as other groups such as the Association of American Publishers." From another article, I found that not only was it the MPA but also the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Association of American Publishers (AAP) and The Publishers Association (TPA) of the U.K."
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Copyright Holders Sign China Piracy Agreement

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  • BSA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:19PM (#17287128) Homepage Journal
    Of course the BSA signed on. For over a decade people have noted that Microsoft let Windows get copied and used throughout China with no attempt at all to force licensing. Microsoft didn't speak to China about it. And they didn't ask the US government to step in. Now that the Chinese economy is on the upswing and millions of computers are running illegal copies of Windows, Microsoft is ready to clamp down and demand money.

    Some use the anology to drug dealing. Give the product away for almost nothing until people get hooked, then demand a lot of money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:36PM (#17287448)
    I thought only the US Government was authorized by the Constitution to negotiate with foreign countries. It seems odd that industry trade associations are setting up de facto treaties without Congressional oversight.

    Maybe I'm wrong... but if this is true, I think we give these sorts of associations far too much freedom.
  • Re:Wet Blanket (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:52PM (#17287732) Homepage Journal
    ``I'm not condoning piracy, but it really does seem that piracy is a reaction to market forces out of whack, ie, wares that are being pirated are priced too high for the market in question.''

    Well, almost. Rather than say that market forces are "out of whack", prices are too high, and piracy is a reaction to that, I would say that piracy is a market force. The pirates are actually just other players entering the market and competing with the incumbents.

    The incumbents are exercising their government-granted monopoly (copyright) and doing what rational monopolists do: collecting outrageous margins and delivering mediocre products and services. The pirates are violating the monopoly and distributing the products that only the incumbents have the rights to distribute. This costs them whatever it costs the incumbents to distribute the same products, plus the additional cost of fines, jail sentences, etc. when they are caught. Rational pirates pass these costs on to the customers, as well as charge whatever markup customers are willing to pay, but many pirates actually don't charge for their wares - meaning they are actually more like Robin Hoods than like actual pirates.

    What's interesting about this whole thing is that, in the age of digital media and cheap bandwidth, piracy is so cheap and so widespread that governments can't enforce the monopoly that they've given (or sold) the copyright holders. Instead, they've extended the term of copyright (which is completely useless against piracy), tightened the law (DMCA; somewhat useful, although it harms customers, as well), and upped the sentences (again, DMCA; this is about the only effective measure, as it raises the cost of piracy). However, I have the feeling that things would have to get much, much more draconian for pirates' costs to reach the level where piracy is only profitable at the sales prices the monopolists charge.

    Of course, governments can and do go after pirates' customers as well. This is probably a much more successful tactic, as the business case for risking a jail sentence or hefty fine to save a few dollars on a song or movie is much harder to make then the business case of facing a jail sentence or a hefty fine for raking in millions of dollars in profits.

    Ok, enough rambling. I'm not even an economist.

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