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A New Approach to U.S. Copyright Policy against Piracy in China
Unformatted Document Text:  11 much of its control to the provinces, a national policy of proper enforcement would be extremely costly and troublesome. These circumstances create administrative difficulty, with the lack of resources and power to effectively monitor nationwide pirating activity and impose internationally accepted copyright policy. Furthermore, corrupt connections between the local government agencies and the piracy business make the situation worse. For example, it has been reported that some administrative agencies are involved politically or financially with powerful businessmen engaged in pirating activities, and some of piracy plants are even state-owned, or the businessmen have strong connections with the regional government officers (Sparkman, 2001; IIPA, 2002). The lack of transparency in the enforcement system also exacerbates the policy enforcement. Despite significant raiding activities in major cities throughout China, it is unclear what type of punishments was executed (IIPA, 2002). Spierer (1999) notes that the civil penalties are not enforced in actual practice regardless of the explicit law. Also, foreign governments and companies claim that penalties remain insufficient to discourage piracy. According to Bill Thompson, senior managing director of Pinkerton China, which investigates fraud across the country, “less than one percent of all counterfeiting cases reported in China are prosecuted” (Associated Press, 2002). (3) Cultural Factors Kenneth Ho (1995) points to the significance of historical events and the cultural differences between China and the U.S. as major reasons for the widespread resistance to copyright laws. He states that the notion of sharing creative works and ideas stems from Confucian beliefs. According to Ho, the role of Confucianism is prevalent in all aspects of life in China as a cultural form of ‘learning by copying.’ Tracing back 2,500 years to the influence of Confucianism, the copying of works of almost any kind has been regarded as “honor” (Ho, 1995). As Wingrove (1996:6) puts it, “this Confucian emphasis on learning by copying applied to all aspects of life in China … [and] copying, by tradition, is a mark of respect and homage.” Likewise, the concept of learning, closely related to imitating the works of masters evolved a long time ago, even centuries before the growth of modern economy and technology. According to Yatsko, “copying enjoys a long tradition in China and does not carry a stigma. Copying a masterpiece was

Authors: Mun, Seung-Hwan.
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much of its control to the provinces, a national policy of proper enforcement would be
extremely costly and troublesome. These circumstances create administrative difficulty,
with the lack of resources and power to effectively monitor nationwide pirating activity
and impose internationally accepted copyright policy. Furthermore, corrupt connections
between the local government agencies and the piracy business make the situation worse.
For example, it has been reported that some administrative agencies are involved
politically or financially with powerful businessmen engaged in pirating activities, and
some of piracy plants are even state-owned, or the businessmen have strong connections
with the regional government officers (Sparkman, 2001; IIPA, 2002).
The lack of transparency in the enforcement system also exacerbates the policy
enforcement. Despite significant raiding activities in major cities throughout China, it is
unclear what type of punishments was executed (IIPA, 2002). Spierer (1999) notes that
the civil penalties are not enforced in actual practice regardless of the explicit law. Also,
foreign governments and companies claim that penalties remain insufficient to discourage
piracy. According to Bill Thompson, senior managing director of Pinkerton China, which
investigates fraud across the country, “less than one percent of all counterfeiting cases
reported in China are prosecuted” (Associated Press, 2002).
(3) Cultural Factors
Kenneth Ho (1995) points to the significance of historical events and the cultural
differences between China and the U.S. as major reasons for the widespread resistance to
copyright laws. He states that the notion of sharing creative works and ideas stems from
Confucian beliefs. According to Ho, the role of Confucianism is prevalent in all aspects
of life in China as a cultural form of ‘learning by copying.’ Tracing back 2,500 years to
the influence of Confucianism, the copying of works of almost any kind has been
regarded as “honor” (Ho, 1995). As Wingrove (1996:6) puts it, “this Confucian emphasis
on learning by copying applied to all aspects of life in China … [and] copying, by
tradition, is a mark of respect and homage.” Likewise, the concept of learning, closely
related to imitating the works of masters evolved a long time ago, even centuries before
the growth of modern economy and technology. According to Yatsko, “copying enjoys a
long tradition in China and does not carry a stigma. Copying a masterpiece was


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