Schroeder To Congress: Keep Pushing to Stop Piracy
Former U.S. Congresswoman Patricia S. Schroeder, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), testified this week before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade in Washington, spelling out the ramped problems of copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting in China.
“In 2006, AAP estimated losses to U.S. publishers in China at $52 million, not including losses due to privacy on the Internet,” Schroeder told the committee members yesterday. “Visits to China and discussions with our member publishers reveal a staggering amount of book piracy plaguing this most promising of markets.”
She said that book piracy manifests itself in a number of different forms in China.
“Illegal commercial-scale photocopying of academic materials is the industry’s most immediate concern. Print piracy (unauthorized reprints approximating the quality and appearance of the original) and illegal translations have profound effects on the market as well,” Schroeder said. “Internet piracy in the form of sites offering illegally scanned books for download, peer-to-peer trading and unauthorized access to electronic journals and other database compilations is growing by leaps and bounds. Furthermore, trademark counterfeiting, especially with regard to books produced by university presses, misleads Chinese consumers. All of this is exacerbated by market-access barriers that deny foreign publishers the ability to freely import into the Chinese market, distribute their own materials, obtain local Chinese book publication numbers or print for the local market.”
The AAP along with the Publishers Association of the U.K. has been working to engage the relevant Chinese authorities in crucial issues facing the industry. This work with groups like the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC), the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Information Industry and the regional copyright authorities appears to be making some progress.
“Between June and October 2006, NCAC and GAPP, together with regional authorities, investigated and took action against textbook copying at six universities, including some of China’s most prestigious institutions,” she said.
The AAP believes it is crucial for government-to-government dialogue to take place to bring change.
“We encourage the administration and Congress to keep engaging the Chinese government in a variety of venues, consistently emphasizing the need for strong intellectual property rights protection for China’s local industry as well as foreign industry, and the need for greater market opening in this sector so important to Chinese culture and scholarship,” Schroeder said.