US not cooperating with China on film distribution

By Li Qian (
Updated: 2007-04-30 13:54

The copyright authorities of the United States are not cooperating with Chinese websites in getting access to movies to broadcast online, a Chinese government-backed intellectual property organization said in an announcement.

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According to the Copyright Union of Internet Society of China (CUISC), it's very difficult for Chinese websites to acquire authorization to broadcast foreign movies online, because they have to go through a lengthy and tedious procedure with the proper authorities of the countries where the films were produced.

It is the latest counterpunch from China against the US on intellectual property (IP) protection after the latter filed two cases to the World Trade Organization complaining Beijing was not doing enough to punish illegal copiers of films and music, and that China's restrictions on entertainment imports violated trade rules.

CUISC secretary general Wang Bin said thousands of movies produced by the US's six major film companies were authorized in China with the help of the Motion Picture Association of America. However, no agencies are in charge of authorizing Chinese online broadcasters to play films made by smaller studios and independent moviemakers.

Last year, the CUISC asked the US embassy in Beijing for help, asking them to recommend an accredited institution for copyright authorization. But according to Wang, the embassy declined the request and asked the Chinese side to go to the Library of Congress at Capitol Hill in Washington to look up the proper contacts to get authorization.

"Those movies are huge in number, possibly hundreds of thousands. It's impossible to do that by the Chinese side alone," Wang said, adding that although member websites with the Internet Society of China have a strong awareness of copyright protection, they have no legal channels to be authorized, and some of them were deceived by agent companies and bought fake copyright certificates.

Wang believes online copyright protection needs cooperative efforts from both sides, and he complained about the US's reproach of China in IP violations. "Copyright holders are also to blame if they don't help in authorization," Wang added.

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