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Anti-piracy officials granted more authority
( 2003-07-31 07:00) (China Daily)

As of September 1, copyright administration officials will be able to take drastic measures in their actions against piracy to prevent policy violators from disposing of evidence.

A police officer displays confiscated pirated or pornographic books before a public destruction ceremony July 29 in the city's Shunyi District. Beijing police have confiscated some 300,000 pirated or pornographic books from street sellers since early this year. [newsphoto.com.cn]

The new regulation is part of a recent amendment to rules on how to implement administrative penalties on copyright infringement, and is aimed at better safeguarding the rights of copyright owners.

Under the current rules, when finding people selling or producing pirated audiovisual products, anti-piracy officials cannot keep the pirated products or materials used for production as evidence before the case is placed on file.

As a result, when officials return another day with the case placed on file, the infringers have already hidden or destroyed the crucial evidence.

In 2000, after several days' worth of investigations, officials verified that a printing house in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, was printing pirated Cihai-- an encyclopedic dictionary of the Chinese language -- without authorization.

But when they went to the facilities in question to gather evidence, staff at the plant had heard of their moves earlier and transferred all of the pirated dictionaries elsewhere in advance.

According to the newly amended rules, officials do not need to wait for the case to be placed on file to register and preserve relevant evidence at the scene. This means that in the above case, the officials can go directly to the factory for evidence as soon as there is sufficient cause.

``The amendment gives administrative officials a stronger hand in law enforcement and improves efficiency,'' said Wang Ziqiang, an official with the National Copyright Administration.

The revised rules also stipulate procedures that administrative law enforcement officials should follow in dealing with cases and procedures of storing evidence.

Each year, the country's copyright administrations assign large numbers of personnel to crack down on piracy.

The administrative law enforcement officials can decide on either applying administrative penalties on violators or referring cases of gross violation to relevant judicial bodies.

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