US Puts Pressure on China over Piracy

by F.

At leasts, that’s what the US is signalling. Is it a credible threat? Hard to say:

The U.S. may file a complaint at the World Trade Organization as early as next week over what it calls China’s piracy of copyrighted movies and books, according to four people briefed by the Bush administration.

The WTO complaints would be the first by the U.S. against China for breaching intellectual property rights in a country where copying extends to bags, golf clubs and even shampoo.

“The U.S. believes that now it’s time to put more pressure” on China, five years after the country became a WTO member, said Standard Chartered PLC’s economist Stephen Green in Shanghai. “The U.S. believes that China has clearly infringed rules that it agreed to play by,” prompting the action, he said

How much is at stake? Again, it’s hard to get reliable information, but here are the numbers from the lobbyists:

China’s illegal copying of movies, music and software cost companies $2.2 billion in 2006 sales, according to an estimate by lobby groups representing Microsoft Corp., Walt Disney Co., and Vivendi SA.