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RIAA, MPAA Welcome US WTO Complaint against China

Postby SlyckTom » Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:11 pm

China is often blamed as one of the primary avenues of physical piracy by the US entertainment industry. Of particular concern is movie piracy, which according to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) costs the US film industry over 2.3 billion dollars in lost revenue per year.

The entertainment industry and the US government have been trying to convince the Chinese leadership to take a tougher stance against piracy. It's been alleged that piracy is so pervasive and common in China that customers only have to walk to a local street vendor to find the latest releases. Pirated goods are often dirt cheap, leaving the consumer with little incentive to go elsewhere for the product.

However "going elsewhere" is in fact a large part of the problem. Because of import restrictions on US entertainment such as movies, books and music, Chinese citizens have few alternative means to obtain US media. This compounds the problem, as the lack of a legitimate supply leads to a super-inflated demand for pirated work.

So it's not so much that China hasn't done enough to curb piracy. The RIAA and MPAA - as well as the US government - recognize that the Chinese leadership has taken many positive steps to reduce and target piracy. For example, the threshold that constitutes criminal piracy was recently halved. However the barriers to US imports still remain.

That sticky situation led to yesterday's news, when the US Trade Representative <a href=http://www.ustr.gov/Document_Library/Press_Releases/2007/April/United_States_Files_WTO_Cases_Against_China_Over_Deficiencies_in_Chinas_Intellectual_Property_Rights_Laws_Market_Access_Barr.html target=_blank>announced</a> it was filing a complaint against China to the WTO (World Trade Organization). The complaint is divided into two parts, the "unacceptably" high rates of piracy, and perhaps more importantly, the continued barriers against US entertainment (books, movies, music, software, etc).

"Piracy and counterfeiting levels in China remain unacceptably high,” U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwabb said. “Inadequate protection of intellectual property rights in China costs U.S. firms and workers billions of dollars each year, and in the case of many products, it also poses a serious risk of harm to consumers in China, the United States and around the world..."

Representative Schwabb continued, "In the same vein, we have discussed with China in detail the harm to U.S. industries, authors and artists who produce books, journals, movies, videos, and music caused by limiting the importation of these products to Chinese state-owned entities, and the problems caused by Chinese laws that hobble the distribution of foreign home entertainment products and publications within China. These products are favorite targets for IPR pirates, and the legal obstacles standing between these legitimate products and the consumers in China give IPR pirates the upper hand in the Chinese market.”

The MPAA and RIAA, who represent an overwhelming majority of US entertainment, have the most to gain - and lose - with this situation. Because of the rampant piracy in China, it's clear beyond any doubt there is a monolithic demand for US entertainment. The MPAA says there's over 2.3 billion dollars in losses every year - that's serious change. If the MPAA could market their goods in China and expose even a small fraction of the current piracy customers to legitimate material, their fortunes would slowly but surely begin to turn. Although the RIAA's losses due to piracy are smaller, they too stand to gain substantially if China opens their markets to American goods.

Not surprisingly, both the MPAA and RIAA welcomed yesterday's news.

"...it is long past time for China to come to grips with the fact that limitations on the access of American content companies to the Chinese market has not had any practical result other than effectively providing exclusive distribution channels for illegal music distributors rather than legitimate companies," the Chairman and CEO of the RIAA said.

"China's inaction is enormously costly to musicians, songwriters and record labels across the world. The irony is that China's failed piracy and market access strategies hurt Chinese creators most. We hope that today's announcement will trigger an immediate reform of Chinese policy and practices."

From the MPAA's Dan Glickman:

"This is a welcome and logical next step in efforts to spur progress in China. Fair market access and respect for the intellectual property of other countries are basic conditions of membership in the global community which China committed to live by when it sought acceptance into the WTO. This action is fair, timely and appropriate.

"I am optimistic about the potential for a favorable resolution, and the resulting benefits for the U.S. motion picture industry. The Chinese people - like people the world over - love American movies."

The Chinese response was not particularly favorable, saying the move could "<a href=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18035628/ target=_blank>seriously damage</a>" the bilateral business relationship between the two countries. Trying to open up Chinese markets to American goods has never been easy. Whether the threat of an escalating trade dispute changes this historical fact remains to be seen.
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Postby qm2003 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:52 pm

Bad move, really bad move,
considering the fact the US is almost broke and China on the other hand doesn't know where to invest its vast Dollar reserves, because it has so much of it, enough to use it for heating in winter by burning the bills.

Really bad move.
:lol:
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P2P is not piracy, it's marketing. In fact, if your music or movie is NOT being downloaded, you should be WORRIED !
If you can't even give it away for free, how do you expect to sell it, stupid ?
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Postby SlyckTom » Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:11 pm

This article is of a political nature in the context of the file-sharing debate. Please keep replies relevant to the article, and keep unrelated political dialog out of the thread. Bear in mind that your lengthy and hard thought out replies that do not conform to the forum rules will be deleted.
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Postby klondike » Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:34 pm

Ok,suppose the Chinese refuse to budge then what?What can the Yanks do?..impose tariffs on dirt cheap chinese goods?..but that will just end up hurting the American consumer.I don't think the foreign policy makers on Capitol Hill are gonna go that far to sabotage relations with China for the sake of the RIAA/MPAA.
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Postby JolietJake » Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:48 pm

American goods don't sell well in China because they're to expensive for most Chinese to buy. On the other hand Chinese goods are so cheap that even the poorest American could afford them. There is a huge trade gap between what we import to and export from China.
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Postby Andu » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:15 pm

Well the only reason China might comply is because they want to join the WTO. Otherwise they'd just tell the US to sod off. There isn't much the US could do.
If the US and the China engage in some kind of economic war they will both suffer greatly. Therefore they will both just have to take whatever crap they throw at each other.
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Postby qm2003 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:35 pm

Unlike Russia, China already IS member of the WTO.
Too late.

:wink:
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Postby Golgo1 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:33 pm

As usual, the interesting 'Fact' from one of the xxAAs

they 'lose' 2.3 billion because of piracy.
If you cant sell a product there to begin with, you didnt LOSE anything if somebody buys a bootleg there.

China could be 100% piracy free... they could be the most honest, wealthy consumers in the world... you STILL wouldnt sell anything

I realize not every bit of media is banned from there, but this magical figgure of 'loss' is just another propaganda number.
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Postby Andu » Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:56 pm

qm2003 wrote:Unlike Russia, China already IS member of the WTO.
Too late.

:wink:


In that case the US is screwed.

There is nothing the WTO can or will do. Just think of all the fights between the US and the EU that have been brought up to the WTO. Nothing happened in either of those cases nor will anything happen.
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Postby basil_brush » Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:57 pm

"Inadequate protection of intellectual property rights in China costs U.S. firms and workers billions of dollars each year" How much have the "US workers" lost due to outsourcing their jobs to Chinese sweatshop workers, about the workers my @rse.
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Postby Muintir na h'Eireann » Tue Apr 10, 2007 6:44 pm

It's very hard to keep this on the subject of file-sharing since the dispute is really about protectionism. For all the noise and press releases issued by the **AA's, they really are little fish in the greater scheme. My impression is these announcements are made more with the intention of impressing/deluding their stakeholders than achieving anything productive.
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Postby johnmac » Tue Apr 10, 2007 7:03 pm

All the threats of trade sanctions against Japan never worked for the last 20, 30 years and China is becoming a much more powerful country. No more stamping plants left in the US, jobs are gone already, why should people support the fat cats sittin in the ivory tower. All americans should be on P2P for that reason alone. Give us a better product and the right price maybe than, lol
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Postby jokster » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:01 am

The **AAs can cry me a river.
As already stated you cant lose what you never had, nor could ever have.
China is not nor never will be an american state, they are free to ban what they want when they want and just because you cant sell "american pie 97" for $20 in beijing (bearing in mind that most chinese are not rich affluent types and that $20 is a substantial amount of money) you go crying to the WTO. China is more worried about political content and the moral wasteground that passes for entertainment in the west infecting their peoples minds and attitudes, than the slimey **AAs getting their cut of profits.
Dry your eyes and get back to what you are good at, sueing dead crippled children!
On a side note i wonder what would happen if china imposed a trade ban on the west, we need their crap more than they need ours
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Postby ShawnSpree » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:31 am

It be helpful to our economy if we banned CHINESE Dirt cheap products in the US. Outsourced all our jobs, and the only way people are able to afford something is from plants in china creating a product that are making 2cents an hour.
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Postby RetailGuy » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:56 am

It isn't simply the cost which, as JolietJake and jokster pointed out, most Chinese cannot afford.

It's the whole package which goes with it. Being told what you can and cannot sell, what price you must sell it at, how it must be displayed, how it must be marketed, etc.

The Chinese government are very concerned about their culture being polluted by material coming out of the west in general and so it's not surprising that they are unwilling to surrender control over imports and sales which is what the MPAA/RIAA are demanding.
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Postby xforce » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:46 pm

if barriers are placed then we can kiss our already weak economy goodbye. half the jobs that once were in the us are in china, more than half our products come from china. we have nothing to buy and nothing to buy with
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Postby JolietJake » Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:54 pm

Yes i was looking at it in an economic way, because even if they weren't concerned about western influence they still couldn't afford most things we produce in the US.
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Postby JolietJake » Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:57 pm

ShawnSpree wrote:It be helpful to our economy if we banned CHINESE Dirt cheap products in the US. Outsourced all our jobs, and the only way people are able to afford something is from plants in china creating a product that are making 2cents an hour.
Actually it would be disastrous for our economy if we banned imports from China, at least in the short run. If we had to make in the US all of the things we import from China the production costs would be much higher, thus making the price the consumer pays higher. It could also cause companies to start looking for ways to cut costs which could include layoffs. The only reason we import things form china is that it costs less to make them there, it certainly isn't the higher quality...
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Postby zbeast » Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:04 pm

There are lots of US firms that take advantage of the very low wages in china to manufacture there goods.
From chips to LCD's, shoes to auto parts.
50 cents a hour is a killer wage there.

Trying to cut off china would be like trying to preform a heart operation on yourself by yourself.
You'll hurt yourself more than anything else.
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Postby JolietJake » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:23 am

Exactly. So little of the things we use in the US are actually made here it's mind blowing. Even a lot of the fruits and vegetables we buy are imported. Most of the stuff we produce doesn't get exported because it's either to expensive for the citizens of the importing country to afford or theres no foreign demand for it, like American cars for example. Don't see a lot of people in Europe driving Ford explorers probably.
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Postby Andu » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:04 am

That's probably because petrol is a lot more expensive in Europe and not as much people will drive a SUV that burns a ton of cash.
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Postby slacker6 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:40 pm

xforce wrote:if barriers are placed then we can kiss our already weak economy goodbye. half the jobs that once were in the us are in china, more than half our products come from china. we have nothing to buy and nothing to buy with


You don't have to worry about that...because China will also have lost their largest buyer and neither country will let it get to that point.

It doesn't matter how cheaply you make the goods if their is no demand. China would then go into a semi-recessionary economy due to the reduced exports. It would be a vicious cycle and as another poster pointed out, both the US and China would suffer greatly.
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Postby bincoder » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:42 pm

Trade barriers must work for some countries, otherwise why do they virtually All impose tariffs and import controls, ending up with a booming economy?

But of course, as usual, if america acts in such ways, the rest of the world will scream and whine how 'controls are evil, and will destroy the worlds economy'.

Funny how so many 'rules' are created by foreign powers and they are a 'good' thing... unless the US does it... then it's automatically a 'bad' thing. Examples including import/export, finances, immigration policy, and on and on.

Political/immigration related comments removed. Please keep on topic! - HC

Personally, I think we spend too much. A slowing of the black hole of debt would help the US not hurt it.

Fewer condos being built and more production plants being built would also be a good thing.

The great depression was painful, but out of that emerged a new superpower, aka the US. Before then, we were basically just another country, not a superpower.

Economic corrections are needed once in awhile, much like pc's need rebooting once in awhile.
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Postby Andu » Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:29 pm

bincoder wrote:Trade barriers must work for some countries, otherwise why do they virtually All impose tariffs and import controls, ending up with a booming economy?

But of course, as usual, if america acts in such ways, the rest of the world will scream and whine how 'controls are evil, and will destroy the worlds economy'.

Funny how so many 'rules' are created by foreign powers and they are a 'good' thing... unless the US does it... then it's automatically a 'bad' thing. Examples including import/export, finances, immigration policy, and on and on.

Edited - HC


I can't agree entirely with you on your first point. Obviously other countries are going to whine when the US sets up tariffs and controls since it is such a big importer of goods and everybody wants to sell their goods as cheap as possible. But the US doesn't act any different in that regard.
Also your gouvernment puts a lot of pressure on other countries to lower tariffs and reduce regulations. The EU does the same and I bet China and any other big economy will do the same if they can.

Everybody looks out for himself. Don't fool yourself by believing that your own country is better than the rest.

Also I don't think anybody except Mexicans and maybe some other Latin American or South American countries care about your immigration policy on the south border. In the EU it's not even a topic. They are more concerned about their own immigration problem.
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Postby bincoder » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:16 pm

Chinese import Tariff 25 percent.
US import Tariff 2.5 percent.

Somehow, that looks more than a little lopsided to me.

"Don't fool yourself by believing that your own country is better than the rest."

I don't recall saying that, lol, but we are the most screwed over country, reguarding trade.

China cannot be out competed by any free country, nor by seats of freedom like Europe, Japan, Austrialia and the US. A dictatorship is always the most efficient form of government. Since the rest of the world trades with them, they will remain a dictatorship, and possibly dominate the world in time.

What will Europe do when the Euro is just another debt to China? (Like the dollar is becoming)

Absolute power... corrupts... and the rest. lol
Last edited by bincoder on Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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