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China Vows Harsher Punishment on Piracy amid "Grave" Situation
    2008-06-13 20:17:23     Xinhua
China is to inflict harsher punishment on piracy, a senior copyright official said here Friday, while admitting the phenomena remained "grave" in the country.

Xu Chao, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration's copyright management bureau, said at a press conference the government had promised "harsher punishment" in its newly-issued outline of the national intellectual property rights (IPR) strategy.

The government was also working on providing better "administrative protection" on copyright along with judicial penalties, according to Xu.

The nation has launched an intensified crackdown on piracy in past years.

China's Criminal Law stipulates a maximum penalty of seven-years imprisonment on those involved in piracy activities. Those involved in piracy activities that were not as serious would be given administrative punishment, he said.

"However, the piracy phenomena remain quite grave," he admitted.

Though the fundamentals were there, the country planned to improve and revise its existing laws and regulations to live up to the current demands of IPR protection, especially in the protection of Internet copyright, according to Xu.

The National Copyright Administration has opened an anti-piracy platform for the public to provide tips about alleged copyright infringement cases and had established a system for rewarding the whistleblowers, he said.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, promulgated an outline of the IPR strategy earlier this month. It stated to dramatically increase its self-directed IPR levels and markedly improve the IPR protection situation within five years.

By 2020, it said, China would become a country with a fairly high level of IPR creation, use, protection and management.

On Thursday, the country launched a four-month campaign to crack down on Internet intellectual copyright infringement in an attempt to ensure legal online communication services as the Olympic Games approach.

According to the Beijing authorities, during the Games, anyone can report infringement via a hotline (12312). Those found committing infringement will face punishment under China's laws and regulations for IPR protection.

Last month, China started offering sizeable rewards to citizens for reporting Olympic logo infringement cases. The largest is 100,000 yuan (14,286 U.S. dollars).


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