IFPI applauds crackdown but pushes for more action

BEIJING — China’s efforts to stamp out piracy won plaudits Thursday from the Int’l Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The org, however, urged Chinese authorities to keep shutting factories producing illegally copied CDs and DVDs.

China is now the second-biggest legal music market in Asia, after Japan, with sales worth $212 million in 2004, but sales of pirated discs were almost twice that at $400 million and over 85% of the units sold in the market are pirate, IFPI said in a statement.

Org, which represents 1,400 major and independent companies in more than 70 countries, said CD pressing capacity in China doubled from 2.4 billion units to 4.9 billion units in one year from 2003 to 2004.

Earlier this week, Chinese anti-piracy officials announced they had swooped on 14 factories running disc copying businesses around the country, stripping six of their operating licenses and halting production at another eight.

“I hope that the recent activity represents a promising signal that China is finally taking seriously the need to take meaningful enforcement action against piracy,” said IFPI chairman John Kennedy. “To make a real difference, this must be the start of a sustained campaign rather than a sporadic offensive.”

Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights is a sore point in trade relations between Beijing and Wash-ington and many U.S. lawmakers blame it for a portion of the record trade deficit with China that hit a record $202 billion last year.

China, eager to show it is meeting its commitments under World Trade Organization rules and also hoping to smooth relations ahead of a forthcoming state visit by President Hu Jintao to Washington, emphazises that it is trying to stamp out the fake trade. It insists China’s improved legal framework, protection mechanisms, anti-piracy campaigns and publicity are reaping dividends.

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