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Govt-sponsored concert calls for public effort to fight piracy
www.chinaview.cn 2005-01-27 09:13:23

    By Xu Lingui

    BEIJING, Jan. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- To stamp out piracy, the Chinese government has aroused not just the police, but also popular musicians to encourage their fans not to buy pirated products.

    On Feb. 26, the Chinese government will sponsor a rare, unprecedented anti-piracy concert in the national capital of Beijing, inviting more than 100 performing stars, including 20 from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as part of its ongoing effort to clamp down on piracy, organizers said Wednesday.

    "This is the first time the central government will hold such apublic event to protect intellectual property rights," said Liu Jie, deputy director of the copyright department of the National Copyright Administration.

    "The concert is designed for raising anti-piracy awareness among the general public, especially music fans," Liu acknowledged.

    On Wednesday, about 40 artists scheduled to appear at the concert gathered in a suburban Beijing hotel to announce a "declaration of war" on pirated audio-video products.

    They pledged to tell their fans to stay away from pirated CDs and to foster a favorable environment for artists.

    Luo Wei, director of the concert, said the main stage will resemble a huge CD, 20m in diameter, and many stage decorations will also be shaped like CDs.

    Tickets for the concert costs from 100-1000 yuan (some 1.2 to 12 US dollars), organizers said, but all proceeds will go into a national anti-piracy fund set aside by China Audio-Video Association for their on-going efforts to root out piracy.

    "Calling on music celebrities really means a lot," said Shi Song, the concert's producer. "They are the victims of rampant piracy, and as public figures if they vow not to buy fake CDs themselves, their fans may follow suit."

    He said many singers, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, were showing "great interest."

    The concert comes amid a beefed up nationwide fight against piracy that began one month ago when the Chinese Supreme People's Court lowered the legal threshold to convict infringers of intellectual property rights and stipulated harsher penalties for them.

    In early January, bulldozers publicly crumpled more than 60 million pirated audio-video products across China, a common practice in the country to show the government's will to stamp outpiracy.

    China seized more than 154 million illegal audio-video products in 2004, the most in any single year in the past two decades, the government said.

    Liu Yunshan, publicity chief of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has ordered police nationwide to fan out acrosscampuses, subway stations and commercial districts in the coming months to clear vendors and shops selling illegal publications.

    Though the war on copyright piracy seems to be escalating, observers have said that the government is unlikely to make much headway if the public's anti-piracy zest is missing.

    "Buying pirated products is a quite common practice in China," said Duan Yuping, another official with the National Copyright Administration. "If it is about porn, some might hesitate. But if it is about pirated CDs, they would buy it without much thought."

    In a recent survey conducted by a domestic website, 80 percent of the respondents say that they have bought or will buy pirated audio-video products.

    "Many movie-goers and music fans pile up stacks of pirated dicsat home," Duan said. She wished the February concert would, in some way, sway them not to continue.

    Sources with the administration said it has slated another public event in April to promote legitimate audio-video product purchasing among school kids, believed to be the largest group of pirated CD buyers.

    "To put it in perspective, piracy will suffocate Chinese people's creativity in the long run," Liu Jie said. "We have to let our people be aware of that." Enditem

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