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BEIJING – Some fifty Chinese websites have agreed to stop providing access to pirated movies. Move was initiated by the Movie Copyright Protection Association of China.

Sites to voluntarily cease offering films via their viewing or download services include China.com.cn, People.com.cn and 163.com.

Instead, they will cooperate with http://www.quacor.com, a legal online movie provider, said MCPAC spokesman Lai Bin. “The alliance aims to promote a cooperation mechanism that benefits both the websites and film industry as well as the public awareness of copyright protection,” he said.

MCPAC said there are about 30,000 Chinese websites that specialize in providing access to visual arts, including films and from a recent survey it conducted, the org said that over 61% of Chinese Web users watch movies online without paying.

Li Guomin, vice-chairman of MCPAC, said the growth of the market for online pirated movies is damaging the country’s local film industry and is jeopardizing its healthy development.

“If these infringements continue, producers might simply stop making movies altogether. And then 162 million Chinese netizens will lose the service they have now,” Li said.

America’s Motion Picture Association has regularly suggested that disc and online piracy may damage local film industries as much or more than it dents revenues for the Hollywood studios.

Late November, Quacor sued two Chinese websites, http://www.tudou.com, a YouTube-like website, and http://www.Xunlei.com, an online music and movie provider, for illegally offering downloads of “The Sun Also Rises,” by Chinese helmer Jiang Wen.