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Ahoy matey! Pirate software, walk plank
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-03 23:40

Two domestic companies have been fined for pirating computer software.

The National Copyright Administration fined Beijing Zhongxinlian Digital Technology Share Holding Company and Tianjin Folk Disk Company 80,000 yuan (US$9,600) and 10,000 yuan (US$1,200) for copying computer software products from US Microsoft (China) CO. Ltd.

The announcement was made on Friday.

In June, Microsoft accused the two Chinese companies of pirating its software products.

After investigating for several months, the administration found that from November 2001 to June 2003, Beijing Zhongxinlian Digital Technology Share Holding Company had duplicated 55,000 pieces of Microsoft software and earned 10,405 yuan (US$1,253) of illegal profits.

The Tianjin Folk Disk Company had copied 4,000 pieces of Microsoft software in 2002 and earned 600 yuan (US$72).

In line with the country's Regulation on Computer Software Protection, the administration has fined the two companies and confiscated their revenues.

"The National Copyright Administration's punishment to the two companies reflects the Chinese Government's high regard for copyright protection, and an effective protection of the legal interests of copyright owners," said Jennifer Ma, a spokesperson for the Microsoft (China) Co.Ltd. in a telephone interview with China Daily.

"Our company will work with other software companies, to continue to support the National Copyright Administration and other relevant governmental departments, for their educational and enforcement work of deepening intellectual property rights protection, so as to further create a favourable climate for the software industry development," she said.

The National Copyright Administration has also punished 52 audio and video shops with 58,000 yuan (US$6,900) worth of fines. Individual fines depended on sales volumes.

The 52 companies had sold pirated video compact disks (VCD) and digital video disks (DVD) of the US movie Shrek 2.

Shrek 2, produced by the US-based Dreamworks SKG, hit Chinese theatres on August 10.

On September 20, Dreamworks SKG said pirated copies of the movie had been sold by video and audio shops and street peddlers in Beijing and Shanghai, Guangdong Province and another 12 provinces, before authorized VCDs and DVDS of Shrek 2 hit the market in November 5.

Shrek 2 was released on May 19, 2004 in the United States. It is a sequel to the Academy Award-winning blockbuster Shrek.

Following the complaint from Dreamworks, the National Copyright Administration inspected 2,600 audio and video shops in 13 municipalities or provinces.

Authorities seized 1,140 copies of pirated copies of Shrek 2.

The administration's spokesman Wang Ziqiang said his agency will continue to intensify the campaign of fighting against copyright violations.

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