China signs deal with Motion Picture Association for copyright protection

MUMBAI: This is an important step towards the checking of movie piracy in China. Chinese film authorities and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) have signed a memorandum of understanding on the crackdown on pirated US home video products for the protection of copyrights of Hollywood movies.

The MPA says that the move is an important step in the fight against the rampant piracy in China that costs Hollywood hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues. The deal was signed between the MPA and China's Ministry of Culture and the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT)

The MPA will send Chinese regulators a list of movies scheduled for release in the country every three months. The agreement provides for stricter policing of counterfeit films and stricter prosecution, the film association said in a statement.

Meanwhile, media reports indicate that pirated DVDs are often available in China before their theatrical release and sometimes cost as little as one dollar. Earlier Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) president and CEO Dan Glickman was quoted in a company release saying that agreements reached during US-China trade talks represented steps in the right direction. He expressed hope that they would yield better enforcement of intellectual property rights in China.

"The agreements reflect modest progress in our ongoing efforts to improve enforcement of intellectual property rights in China. I hope China is vigorous in its implementation. That will be a greater measure of success" he said.

The MPAA states that currently 95 per cent of DVDs sold in China are pirated. Also of concern is the limitation China places on access to American movies in theaters. China's quasi-monopoly on film distribution, on top of an annual quota of 20 major films, results in very limited and unpredictable access to the Chinese market for American filmed entertainment.

Glickman says, "It is impossible to fight piracy effectively when there are so many barriers to legal product entering the market. We have a long way to go in both these areas, but these are steps in the right direction and we welcome them."

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