Industry body to push for copyright support

BEIJING — The Chinese film biz launched a new body Monday to push for greater copyright protection and help the government draw up intellectual property rights, still a relatively new concept in China.

The Film Copyright Protection Assn. (CFCA) covers 62 industry groups, including the China Film Producers’ Assn., City Cinema Assn. of China, Chinese Film Circulation and Projection Assn. and China Audio-visual Producers’ Assn.

Org will also educate people about copyright, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Effort comes not a minute too soon, Hollywood is sure to say, as piracy in China remains a huge problem costing billions of dollars in lost revenues every year.

Domestically produced movies are widely pirated, so box office is small and local coin is difficult to come by.

The government makes noise regularly about improving intellectual property rights, specifically for movies, and Beijing occasionally launches high-profile crackdowns.

Last year, China confiscated nearly 40 million pirated movies and CDs. But fakes are still sold openly in most major cities in shops and by street peddlers.

The CFCA made its first official declaration a grand statement urging auds not to buy pirated films.

“The association will protect not only Chinese-made films but also imported films on commission,” said org prexy Zhu Yongde.

In July the culture ministry and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Televisionsigned a memorandum to crack down on the pirating of Hollywood movies.

Another aim of the group is to take part in international exchanges with overseas copyright groups.

Michael C. Ellis, senior VP and regional director of the Motion Picture Assn.’s Asia-Pacific division, welcomed the CFCA.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of Chinese filmmaking, and there is no better time for this agenda to be the platform,” he said.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more