Lack of legal talent hampering piracy fight

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am

China's legal system has improved over the past five years as a WTO member but still lacks the talent to better protect intellectual property rights, a senior official said yesterday.

The remarks were made by Zhang Sujun , a deputy justice minister, as China prepared to mark the fifth anniversary of its World Trade Organisation accession tomorrow.

Speaking on the sidelines of a forum, Mr Zhang noted misconceptions among the public on government efforts to protect copyright.

'There are some people who have complained about our efforts - they thought it was all right to copy things from other countries. And they thought we set up a copyright protection system because of pressure from foreign countries,' he said. 'It's not fair to say so because this is a system that will enable us to reach our goal of becoming an innovative country.'

China has come under constant criticism by western countries for rampant copyright infringements, especially pirating of films and music, over the past five years.

Mr Zhang said a lack of legal talent was the biggest challenge in the piracy fight, which he said was also putting domestic business at risk.

'We see a lot of problems, so do some [domestic] companies, but they can't find anyone who is capable of protecting their rights,' he said. 'What we do not have right now is the legal talent who are well-versed in WTO regulations, domestic and foreign laws, and who can also fight for the rights of companies.'

Apart from stepping up public education and tightening administrative measures, Mr Zhang said the business sector should also play its part. 'Even members of the government's anti-piracy teams and investigators from foreign countries buy pirated movies. I don't think we should put too much blame on consumers.'

He said businesses should come up with ways to cut their prices and improve after-sales service.