I have argued in this blog that the big and complex issues we face with China won’t be solved overnight, no matter what we do. At the same time I have noted that we can/should expect continued steps forward on these issues. I used IPR as a poster child for such efforts (“Solving the IPR Problem”).

While in the government I was often pressed to show large, quick results on IPR. In response I’d argue that we were making progress in getting the Chinese government more focused on the problem and applying more resources to it. I’d argue that this trend over time would lead to more concrete measures of progress.

The Business Software Alliance (representing many of the major US software companies) has just released their latest “BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study” (press release with summary of report is here:

Among other findings, the report states: “The average PC software piracy rate in Asia Pacific increased to 61 percent, up from 59 percent the previous year, with losses reaching over $15 billion.” However, when looking country-by-country it notes:

“China’s piracy rate has dropped 10 points in the last five years [from 90% to 80%], a result of more vigorous enforcement and education, as well as vendor legalization programs and agreements with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and resellers. The government, for instance, has mandated that PC manufacturers in China only ship PCs with legitimate operating systems.”

I’m not saying it’s time to declare victory re IPR in China. Software is just one aspect of an issue that spans other copyright problems, trademark, and patent issues. And anyway, 80% level of piracy is still pretty high. The US government and business groups need to continue their maximum efforts to help support those in the Chinese government who are working very hard to strengthen IPR protection. And the Chinese government needs to continue to press on this problem very hard. This is a time to redouble efforts, not slack off.

That said, there are lots of folks quick to criticize China for any (real or perceived) backsliding on issues. Let’s also give credit where it is due. The strenuous efforts the Chinese government has been making to strengthen IPR protection are showing results.

Explore posts in the same categories: China, IPR, Trade

5 Comments on “Progress”

  1. You might be interested to see this posts and the links therein on how the BSA annual report is not very reliable:

    • levinehank Says:

      Kevin: thanks. I had considered adding in my original post a comment that I wouldn’t put any money on the the specific numbers, and probably should have done so (though I see the article you cite goes quite a bit further than that). Anyway, in the world of politics/policy, perceptions often are reality.

      The negative piracy statistics (accurate or not) that industry groups have been putting out for years have had an impact on thinking in the Congress and elsewhere about China’s IPR situation. If a major industry group that has been critical of China’s efforts in the past is now saying it sees progress I think that’s a significant development. Of course, folks who put no credence in the numbers presumably ignored them when they were getting worse and now will ignore them when they are improving. I’m just hoping the folks who believed them when they showed a worsening situation now take notice of the change.

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