CHINA BOWS PIRACY LAWS

BEIJING (Reuters) — New regulations to boost the powers of government departments to punish copyright pirates will take effect in China Saturday, the Xinhua news agency said today.

The announcement came a day after a court in southern China sentenced copyright thieves and pornographic videodisc merchants to prison terms ranging from two to 13 years.

China said it is committed to stamping out copyright theft, but officials acknowledge they have been hampered in their battle by their lack of power to take action against copyright pirates.

China and the United States narrowly averted a bruising trade war in June over Washington’s charges that Beijing was not doing enough to curb piracy of intellectual property rights.

U.S. officials said last month there were indications China was doing a better job of enforcing the Sino-U.S. copy-right accord, citing plant closures and tougher controls on importing illegal equipment.

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