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A New Approach to U.S. Copyright Policy against Piracy in China
Unformatted Document Text:  16 that China has historical and cultural roots that are profoundly different from Western countries, and that such roots militate against the establishment of an effective intellectual property rights system in China. Without reforms that are sensitive to these differences, the piracy problem will continue, and perhaps will exacerbate as the Chinese economy grows. Second, U.S. policy has not fully demonstrated the Chinese benefits of strong intellectual property protection. It is frequently believed that markets for information products and services can only thrive only when intellectual property rights are securely protected (Samuelson, 1998; Maskus, 2000; Park, 1996). However, most developing countries including China have generally taken a different approach to this claim. They implicitly disbelieve the “trickle down” effect of intellectual property protection (Deardorff, 1990; Steidlmeier, 1993). Likewise, there is prevailing uncertainty in China due to the lack of intellectual property infrastructure such as economic, legal, political, and cultural system. For many of developing countries including China, this uncertainty means that the lack of copyright infrastructure elements can make the social costs of strengthened intellectual property protection higher than the benefits. As discussed above, the uniqueness of the Chinese economic system makes it difficult to forsake the short- term benefit of piracy for the indeterminate long-term benefits of strengthened copyright protection. Under the conditions, external pressure from the USTR or now the TRIPs only represent a transitional step, rather than an ultimate policy implementation to assure domestic self-interest in protecting and enforcing intellectual property laws in China. Along a similar line, U.S. policy has paid little attention to a bottom-up approach as an ultimate policy goal. As Post (1998) argues, as a domestic copyright industry matures, it also fragments; some portions of that industry begin to perceive that their self- interest lies in equitable copyright treatment for foreigners. For example, the U.S. had not wanted to extend its copyright protection to foreign works until it had a thriving literary culture and the book industry. Likewise, the Chinese domestic companies, only if truly recognized the benefits of the intellectual property rights, would produce sufficient pressures for local governments and courts to enforce the law to the same levels as in developed countries (Corbett, 2001). Thus, besides the direct policy pressure on the

Authors: Mun, Seung-Hwan.
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that China has historical and cultural roots that are profoundly different from Western
countries, and that such roots militate against the establishment of an effective
intellectual property rights system in China. Without reforms that are sensitive to these
differences, the piracy problem will continue, and perhaps will exacerbate as the Chinese
economy grows.
Second, U.S. policy has not fully demonstrated the Chinese benefits of strong
intellectual property protection. It is frequently believed that markets for information
products and services can only thrive only when intellectual property rights are securely
protected (Samuelson, 1998; Maskus, 2000; Park, 1996). However, most developing
countries including China have generally taken a different approach to this claim. They
implicitly disbelieve the “trickle down” effect of intellectual property protection
(Deardorff, 1990; Steidlmeier, 1993). Likewise, there is prevailing uncertainty in China
due to the lack of intellectual property infrastructure such as economic, legal, political,
and cultural system. For many of developing countries including China, this uncertainty
means that the lack of copyright infrastructure elements can make the social costs of
strengthened intellectual property protection higher than the benefits. As discussed above,
the uniqueness of the Chinese economic system makes it difficult to forsake the short-
term benefit of piracy for the indeterminate long-term benefits of strengthened copyright
protection. Under the conditions, external pressure from the USTR or now the TRIPs
only represent a transitional step, rather than an ultimate policy implementation to assure
domestic self-interest in protecting and enforcing intellectual property laws in China.
Along a similar line, U.S. policy has paid little attention to a bottom-up approach
as an ultimate policy goal. As Post (1998) argues, as a domestic copyright industry
matures, it also fragments; some portions of that industry begin to perceive that their self-
interest lies in equitable copyright treatment for foreigners. For example, the U.S. had not
wanted to extend its copyright protection to foreign works until it had a thriving literary
culture and the book industry. Likewise, the Chinese domestic companies, only if truly
recognized the benefits of the intellectual property rights, would produce sufficient
pressures for local governments and courts to enforce the law to the same levels as in
developed countries (Corbett, 2001). Thus, besides the direct policy pressure on the


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