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A New Approach to U.S. Copyright Policy against Piracy in China
Unformatted Document Text:  13 totally foreign concept in much of Asia … On the contrary, the copying of works of almost any kind has for centuries been regarded as honorable and necessary” (Wingrove, 1995: 6). A more relevant factor in modern day China is that sharing intellectual property has been the mandate for over forty years in this Communist state. The inception of intellectual property laws in the West involved an essential connection between the rise of capitalism and the extension of commodity relations into the literary and artistic domains (Bettig, 1996). For example, in England, legal copyright protection was shaped by the efforts of mercantile interests to obtain monopoly control of the publishing industry, just as guilds shaped patent and trademark protection laws. As Eisenstein (1979) contends, copyright supported the expansion of creative human activities as a commodity, and the granting of rights to printers brought intellectual property rights to capitalism. As a result, copyright, often enacted and enforced by the state, legitimized the concentration of ownership of creative works in the hands of the expanding capitalist class (Bettig, 1996; Jackson, 2002). Hence, copyright laws, which were established in the Western world, are more widely accepted in capitalist regimes than in Communist regimes such as China. While it is not apparent that the Communist government emphasizes Confucianism, its view on the function of intellectual property is very similar to that of Confucianism. Both the Communist government and Confucianism clearly envision that it is wholly necessary to control the flow of ideas to the populace, and this control is to be exercised by a very small group of persons for the benefit of society as a whole (Alford, 1995). Under the socialist economic system, wealth and property belong to the state rather than private owners 5 . Thus, there is little resistance in the demand for the creative ideas and expressions to be part of the state property. On the other hand, aversion of private property was strengthened within the socialist economic system through the numerous mass campaigns under Maoism. 6 Therefore, implementation of copyright and 5 Steidlmeier (1993) sees property through three different approaches to specifying its nature in terms of (1) private individual, (2) common and (3) public (government) forms of property. If we put an emphasis on the Chinese Communist government, the concept of intellectual property is considered as a public property, but in case of Confucianism, its characteristic is close to a common property. 6 For instance, during the Proletariat Cultural Revolution, the Communist government heavily criticized scientists, writers, artists, lawyers, and intellectuals and routinely condemned them to harsh prison terms

Authors: Mun, Seung-Hwan.
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totally foreign concept in much of Asia … On the contrary, the copying of works of
almost any kind has for centuries been regarded as honorable and necessary” (Wingrove,
1995: 6).
A more relevant factor in modern day China is that sharing intellectual property
has been the mandate for over forty years in this Communist state. The inception of
intellectual property laws in the West involved an essential connection between the rise
of capitalism and the extension of commodity relations into the literary and artistic
domains (Bettig, 1996). For example, in England, legal copyright protection was shaped
by the efforts of mercantile interests to obtain monopoly control of the publishing
industry, just as guilds shaped patent and trademark protection laws. As Eisenstein (1979)
contends, copyright supported the expansion of creative human activities as a
commodity, and the granting of rights to printers brought intellectual property rights to
capitalism. As a result, copyright, often enacted and enforced by the state, legitimized the
concentration of ownership of creative works in the hands of the expanding capitalist
class (Bettig, 1996; Jackson, 2002). Hence, copyright laws, which were established in the
Western world, are more widely accepted in capitalist regimes than in Communist
regimes such as China.
While it is not apparent that the Communist government emphasizes
Confucianism, its view on the function of intellectual property is very similar to that of
Confucianism. Both the Communist government and Confucianism clearly envision that
it is wholly necessary to control the flow of ideas to the populace, and this control is to be
exercised by a very small group of persons for the benefit of society as a whole (Alford,
1995). Under the socialist economic system, wealth and property belong to the state
rather than private owners
5
. Thus, there is little resistance in the demand for the creative
ideas and expressions to be part of the state property. On the other hand, aversion of
private property was strengthened within the socialist economic system through the
numerous mass campaigns under Maoism.
6
Therefore, implementation of copyright and
5
Steidlmeier (1993) sees property through three different approaches to specifying its nature in terms of (1)
private individual, (2) common and (3) public (government) forms of property. If we put an emphasis on
the Chinese Communist government, the concept of intellectual property is considered as a public property,
but in case of Confucianism, its characteristic is close to a common property.
6
For instance, during the Proletariat Cultural Revolution, the Communist government heavily criticized
scientists, writers, artists, lawyers, and intellectuals and routinely condemned them to harsh prison terms


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