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A New Approach to U.S. Copyright Policy against Piracy in China
Unformatted Document Text:  12 historically considered an art form in its own right, while Chinese students have been taught for centuries to copy their teachers as accurately as possible before attempting to create” (Yatsko, 2000: 216). Wingrove (1995) also notes that the Chinese education system was based on the principle of copying, and for more than 2,000 years of imperial China, attainment of the highest academic qualification was demonstrated by faultless reproduction of the classical works of the past. For example, at a very young age, Chinese children were taught to memorize and copy the classics and histories. These cultural attitudes originating from Confucianism are still very much alive today and are the main sources of influence upon the present system of intellectual property in China. From the difference in cultural attitude, Ploman and Hamilton (1980) explain why the legal concept of copyright emerged in European society but not in Asia. Although the Chinese developed writing during the third millennium B.C. and introduced paper to the world, it was not until the 1980s that China established a modern copyright system (Ploman & Hamilton, 1980; Bettig, 1996). For example, China adopted the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Patent Law”) in March 1984, the Trademark Law for the first time in 1982, and the Copyright Law in June 1991 . This reflects the fact that the concept of intellectual property is relatively new to China and similarly to many of Chinese-speaking countries in Asia. Furthermore, the legal concept of copyright is a predominant Western concept of intellectual property. In the Western countries, individual freedom and benefits have been emphasized over benefits for the society by acknowledging the importance of individual creativity and original works (Garmon, 2002; Steidlmeier, 1993). However, the notion of intellectual property is foreign to many Eastern societies. Looking back at Chinese traditional attitudes towards publication and reproduction, Alford (1995) emphasizes the positive attitudes towards copying. Placing this in the context of the Chinese legal system that had existed until the 19 th century, he argues that there was nothing equivalent to the concept and enforcement of intellectual property law in imperial China because of the prevailing political culture. Even in the early 20th century, Western models of intellectual property legislation failed, as they appeared irrelevant to China’s circumstances. A common flaw in many international agreements is the failure to reconcile the differences in Western and Eastern values. As Wingrove argues, “[w]hat is often not appreciated in the West is that intellectual theft is a

Authors: Mun, Seung-Hwan.
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12
historically considered an art form in its own right, while Chinese students have been
taught for centuries to copy their teachers as accurately as possible before attempting to
create” (Yatsko, 2000: 216). Wingrove (1995) also notes that the Chinese education
system was based on the principle of copying, and for more than 2,000 years of imperial
China, attainment of the highest academic qualification was demonstrated by faultless
reproduction of the classical works of the past. For example, at a very young age, Chinese
children were taught to memorize and copy the classics and histories. These cultural
attitudes originating from Confucianism are still very much alive today and are the main
sources of influence upon the present system of intellectual property in China.
From the difference in cultural attitude, Ploman and Hamilton (1980) explain why
the legal concept of copyright emerged in European society but not in Asia. Although the
Chinese developed writing during the third millennium B.C. and introduced paper to the
world, it was not until the 1980s that China established a modern copyright system
(Ploman & Hamilton, 1980; Bettig, 1996). For example, China adopted the Patent Law of
the People’s Republic of China (the “Patent Law”) in March 1984, the Trademark Law
for the first time in 1982, and the Copyright Law in June 1991
.
This reflects the fact that
the concept of intellectual property is relatively new to China and similarly to many of
Chinese-speaking countries in Asia. Furthermore, the legal concept of copyright is a
predominant Western concept of intellectual property. In the Western countries,
individual freedom and benefits have been emphasized over benefits for the society by
acknowledging the importance of individual creativity and original works (Garmon,
2002; Steidlmeier, 1993). However, the notion of intellectual property is foreign to many
Eastern societies. Looking back at Chinese traditional attitudes towards publication and
reproduction, Alford (1995) emphasizes the positive attitudes towards copying. Placing
this in the context of the Chinese legal system that had existed until the 19
th
century, he
argues that there was nothing equivalent to the concept and enforcement of intellectual
property law in imperial China because of the prevailing political culture. Even in the
early 20th century, Western models of intellectual property legislation failed, as they
appeared irrelevant to China’s circumstances. A common flaw in many international
agreements is the failure to reconcile the differences in Western and Eastern values. As
Wingrove argues, “[w]hat is often not appreciated in the West is that intellectual theft is a


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