China’s New Commitments to Strengthen IP Protection - BSA

22 Nov 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The Business Software Alliance welcomed today in a press release new commitments by China to strengthen intellectual property protections and curb software theft, and looked forward to seeing how the plans would be implemented in practice to produce tangible results in the short term and long term.

The commitments, first signaled by China’s State Council on November 9, came into clearer focus this week during bilateral negotiating sessions of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), held in the city of Chengdu. At the JCCT, China agreed that IP enforcement efforts would be led by the State Council, China’s chief governing body, and made specific commitments to improve the process of government software legalization and complete it at all levels by 2013. China further agreed to press forward with programs to ensure legal software use in all enterprises.

This follows announcements by the State Council on November 9 that in addition to creating a new national office to coordinate enforcement of intellectual property rights, it will toughen copyright laws and related criminal and procedures, while holding government officials responsible for effectively enforcing IP violations.

“These are encouraging commitments that have the potential to reduce software piracy,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. “How the plans are implemented in practice will be critically important, but we are pleased that the State Council, China’s chief governing body, has been put directly in charge. We need to see tangible results in the short term and long term, because the scale of piracy in China is enormous. I commend US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary John Bryson and their teams for working tirelessly with their Chinese counterparts to press for progress on this critical issue for the US economy.”

Nearly four out of five software programs installed on personal computers in China were unlicensed in 2010, according to BSA’s Global Software Piracy Study. Meanwhile, spending on legal software in China is two-thirds lower on a per-PC basis than it is in other developing countries such as India, Brazil, Mexico, and Korea.

“Last year, China committed to ensure its government agencies at all levels use only legal software. We are still assessing the impact of that ongoing program,” Holleyman said. “China’s commitment this week to improve and extend its government software legalization initiative is a positive step because it acknowledges there is still a great deal of work to be done.”

“Now there is an opportunity for China to expand this campaign to the broader economy, starting with state-owned enterprises, where decisive action by government can have a major impact,” Holleyman continued. “I welcome China’s plans to create a national office to coordinate IP protection, to strengthen copyright laws, and to begin holding government officials responsible for making tangible progress in reducing piracy. Depending on how these steps are put into practice, they may constitute noteworthy steps forward. But there is still a long road ahead for China to bring its under-performing market for legal software more in line with its surging market for PC hardware — which will soon be the world’s largest.”

“This effort requires a sustained commitment,” Holleyman concluded. “A successful outcome in the fight against intellectual property theft will be to the benefit of both the US and Chinese economies.”

The Business Software Alliance is the leading global advocate for the software industry.



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