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12/21/2006
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MPA Reports Progress In Reducing Piracy In China

The Motion Picture Association and other groups said the National Copyright Administration of China agreed to cooperate to stop the distribution of illegally copied movies, television shows, and literary works.

Two days after signing a copyright protection agreement with China, the Motion Picture Association disclosed that a Beijing court ruled against a business accused of copyright infringement.

The MPA, the Business Software Alliance, the Association of American Publishers, and the Publishers Association of the United Kingdom, announced last week that the National Copyright Administration of China agreed to cooperate to stop the distribution of illegally copied movies, software, television shows, and literary works.

Black market hard copies of the materials are widely available in China and increasingly available over the Internet. The agreement states that the associations will inform the NCAC about products legally released for Internet downloads so authorities can easily distinguish between legal and pirated content. The NCAC agreed to refer copyright infringement cases to the courts.

The MPA reported that its studios lost $6.1 billion to piracy in 2005. The studios lost $2.3 billion to Internet downloads and another $3.8 billion to illegal hard copies.

On Monday, a judge in Beijing took a step toward fighting illegal hard copy distribution by ordering the Yu Hao Qing DVD retailer and its parent company, Beijing Century Hai Hong Trading Company, to pay five MPA film companies $20,964 in damages and legal costs. Two days after the associations announced an agreement with Chinese authorities, Judge Song Guang also ordered the store and the company to stop selling pirated films.

The MPA believes that limited legitimate access to foreign films contributes to China's robust black market. The Chinese government places quotas on performances and exhibitions, imposes blackouts on theatrical releases, and restricts home video distributors more than private retailers, according to the MPA. The group is working with the Chinese government to encourage a more open market to provide an alternative to piracy.

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