Since the Internet was first born, there have been people that have served as pirates and there have been people who were victims of pirates. For years, China has been considered one of the biggest safe havens in the world for all kinds of technological and software piracy. If you want to find a knockoff version of Microsoft Windows or an iPhone (News - Alert) before the real deal is introduced to the market, China was the place to turn. Now, the country’s top official in charge of fighting piracy is fighting back, claiming that the West actually has an odd view of what copyright piracy actually is.
Tian Lipu, head of China's State Intellectual Property Office, says that the country has been working hard to fight against copyright piracy and that his country is not the safe haven the European and American media would have you believe. This statement seems to be in direct conflict with a move the United States government took in April. This spring, the U.S. put China and Russia at the top of the list of countries with the worst records for preventing piracy, copyrighted material and intellectual property.
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Tian told reporters at a press conference earlier in the week that, "Speaking honestly, there is a market. People use and buy pirated goods, to a large extent, China's intellectual property rights protection image has been distorted by Western media.”
Tian added that, "China's image overseas is very poor. As soon as people hear China they think or piracy and counterfeiting -- (Beijing's) Sanlitun, that place in Shanghai, Luohu in Shenzhen.” Those locations have long been thought of as notorious black markets for a host of pirated and stolen goods.
Tian said that China does not deny that there are problem areas, but he said that his country is battling them, not working with the offenders or even simply looking the other way.
Tian pointed out that China is also one of the world’s largest payers of patent rights, but that is rarely mentioned in the media. The minister’s final comments were a direct shot at companies like Apple (News - Alert). Tian said that if these companies were that worried about piracy they wouldn’t continue to have their products assembled in China.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman