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Intellectual works prone to theft on Net

Updated: 2011-04-26 08:17

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - To many, the Internet is a boon because it gives them anonymity, an easy means of interacting with other computer users and a way to disseminate information quickly.

Those same attributes, though, have led to increasingly common and serious violations of intellectual property rights in Shanghai, according to a senior local judge.

The targets of many recent accusations of rights infringements have been the websites used in China to share videos with other Internet surfers. The sites make piracy easier by offering places where illegal materials can be stored and by posting links to sites where illegal materials can be found, according to Zheng Zhaofang, deputy head of Shanghai Municipal Higher People's Court.

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Courts in Shanghai have also witnessed a surge of lawsuits involving copyright violations.

In 2010, the city's courts accepted 794 civil cases involving alleged violations of Internet copyrights, a number that had risen by 41 percent from where it had been in the previous year, according to the Shanghai Intellectual Property Right Judicial Protection 2010 report, which was released on Monday.

Films, television works, written works, musical works, photographs and computer software are the products most prone to copyright violations, the report said.

As Internet commerce becomes more common, Shanghai courts have also dealt with more lawsuits alleging trademark infringements, according to Zhu Dan, presiding judge of the intellectual property rights court of the Shanghai Municipal Higher People's Court.

"Websites that sell products can take measures to avoid trademark infringements and other violations of intellectual property rights," Zhu said.

"For example, the site owners can use technical means to monitor trading and the identity of sellers, as well as adopt procedures to ensure the goods they sell aren't violating property rights."

Through a stricter protection of intellectual property rights, Shanghai expects to see rising numbers of innovations and of companies able to compete throughout the world.

To bring about that outcome, customers should help protect intellectual property rights, according to Zhu.

Producers of counterfeit software, wine, luxury clothing and other goods have taken a hit in the past few years, but the courts cannot do enough alone to protect intellectual property rights. For the fight against violators to succeed, customers must refuse to buy goods they know are fake, Zhu said.


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