Clean software for all counties
Beijing has ordered thousands of county-level governments on the mainland to only use genuine and authorised computer software by the end of next year.
The move will help ease international pressure over intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements on the mainland and improve the nation's image, Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication and deputy director of the National Copyright Administration, told a press conference yesterday.
Copyrighted software has been installed in central government offices since the end of May last year while provincial-level departments fell into line by June 30 this year. However, many local governments - including more than two-thirds of the mainland's 500 or so city governments and more than three-quarters of its 2,800 county-level governments - had yet to be cleared of using pirated software, Yan said.
Government bodies that are still using counterfeit software have been asked to buy genuine software through an official website launched in May last year.
Li Baorong, deputy director of the State Council's Government Offices Administration, said: 'The website was originally created for the central government bodies in Beijing and now growing numbers of local governments are buying legitimate software through it.'
Li said the website stocks more than 1,300 items of software from 162 domestic and overseas brands that are available to all government departments and agencies. The buyers could make orders and upgrade and maintain software through the website, and also find cheap deals on Oracle, Microsoft and Kingsoft software.
'For example, Microsoft Office software costs 1,370 yuan (US$200) if shopping through the website, but most local governments set the budget for purchasing the same product at more than 2,000 yuan,' Li said.
Neither official said whether or not private enterprises and individuals would be able to buy software through the official website.
Professor Wang Yukai, from the Chinese Academy of Governance, said governments had enormous administrative powers and money and that as long as all levels of administration fought against copyright infringement seriously there was scope for big improvements.
'But copyright infringement is still rampant and the governments need more long-term measures to move on IPR protection outside their own system.' Wang said.