Experts Call for Cooperation to Stop Copyright Infringements

International cooperation is key to combating cross-border copyright infringement, experts from China and the United States said during a seminar in Beijing on intellectual property rights protection.

Most IPR infringements are about copyright, with the Internet the main channel for sharing books, videos and films, according to a report by the National Copyright Administration.

The report showed that in 2010 and 2011, Chinese courts heard almost 100,000 IPR cases, with copyright quarrels accounting for almost 60 percent of them. More than half of those copyright violations involved the Internet.

"With the fast development of the Internet, the number of online copyright infringements has risen rapidly and become a cross-border phenomenon," said Zhang Jun, director of security administration at the Ministry of Public Security.

His office has already reached legal agreements with US police to combat cross-border infringements more effectively.

"Without information from the US police and other foreign organizations, such as the Motion Picture Association, we wouldn't have been able to solve some cases as quickly as we did," Zhang said.

Such cooperation is a necessity, he said, as some Chinese transfer illegal products or set up illegal servers overseas to avoid Chinese laws, posing a challenge for investigators.

"In these cases, we have to ask for help from the country where the illegal servers are, hoping their legal departments can help us do some work or get the evidence we need," he said.

Zhang Peng, deputy director of the ministry's IPR economic-crime investigation division, said cooperation on legal enforcement between the countries has developed well.

"We have a special group to communicate with US police. They often discuss how to conduct crackdowns on pirated products and online infringements," he said. "For some serious criminal cases, Interpol is needed."

In 2007, police in China and the US cracked a copyright infringement case involving more than 1 million pirated discs and arrested suspects in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, after the Motion Picture Association supplied important clues via e-mail.

If the ministry had not had assistance from the US, the case would not have been handled so smoothly, Zhang said.

Thomas Dougherty, a trial attorney with the US Department of Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, said the US has the same trouble investigating cross-border online copyright violations.

If servers in other countries affect the IPR environment in the US, he said, his government will also ask for help.

However, such cooperation has not been extended to administrative departments, meaning some governmental plans to stamp out online copyright infringements cannot be properly enforced.

Wang Zhicheng, deputy director-general of the copyright department at the National Copyright Administration, said his office is considering cooperating with some US departments, but there are no specific plans.

"Both China and the US have special campaigns on protecting copyright, including our Sword Internet and their In Our Sites," he said. "But there is little cooperation between the two countries' administrations."

Yang Yong, director of online supervision for the Shanghai Cultural Market Administrative Enforcement Force, said Chinese administrators currently have no right to trace and supervise those who violate copyrights in China using servers overseas.

"These wrongdoers can move their infringed products or servers to the US and go on disrupting our country's market in a short time after we find their violations in our country," he said, adding that this issue has been a problem for some time.

"If we can send a fax to administrative departments in the US when we see such infringements, problems may be easier to solve."

(Source: China Daily)