With a population of 1.357 billion (2013)3, China is the most populated country in the world. Along with the huge population comes a market that is unmatched by any other country of the world. Both domestic companies and foreign companies want to tap into this large market that just recently embraced capitalism and entered into the World Trade Organization.
China also provided a labor force that is able to tackle both white-collar and blue-collar job positions. This made foreign companies rush both monetary and technological resources into China to utilize the manufacturing and development power. Both Microsoft and Sun have created research and development centers to implement and design software applications in China. Domestic companies are not far behind either, for example, China's own Evermore Software is on the rise to challenge Microsoft's office suite with its own.4
With the boom of technology in China and the new capitalism ideas, China also has a huge piracy problem. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance's 2003 report on China, the piracy problem in China creates $1.85 billion in 2002 alone with 90% piracy rates for all copyrighted materials.5 This piracy problem affects negatively on China's global relations and economic improvements. China's current copyright laws are still in its teenage years, and the fast pace of technological advancement isn't helping either.
In this paper, I will attempt to describe the piracy problem in China, discuss how the Chinese government is dealing with it, present the global effect, and finally arrive at what would be an ethical solution to piracy fitting for China's situation.
The Piracy Problem
Asia has always had a problem with counterfeiting to provide the Asian market with fake alcohol, cigarettes, cloth, books, and etc. The counterfeiting went on so that the Asian market's mass population can afford the things that only the riches can without worrying too much about their expenses. With the technological advances in multimedia and the Internet, China is seeing a flood of copyright infringements in optical disk piracies, internet piracy, and other forms of piracy that didn't exist before the computer and internet. I will address those technical piracies in China in this paper.
Optical disk piracy is the production of optical disks that contain intellectual property that can be written and accessed from the disk. The copyright infringement of optical disk piracy is affecting the music industry, the movie industry, and the software industry. Optical disk piracy comes in the forms of CD, CD-R, DVD, and VCD. The music industry in China has lost an estimate of $600 million in revenues due to CD piracy, with the U.S. companies at $48 million.6 The pirated CDs either are counterfeited from the original CDs or a mix match of songs put together by the violators. This is a huge crisis for the domestic music...