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Taobao, Hollywood studios forge pact against piracy

Major movie makers and giant mainland web business to target bootleg films, television shows and other audio-visual materials

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2012, 2:55am

Taobao Marketplace and Hollywood's major film studios have agreed to moves that aim to halt the sale and distribution of bootleg movies, television shows and other audio-visual content on the mainland's biggest online shopping website.

In a pact signed yesterday, Taobao Marketplace and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) agreed to strengthen what they described as "existing standards, mechanisms, and mutual responsibilities concerning the identification and removal" of merchandise from the Taobao. com site that were "identified as counterfeit or otherwise infringing" by MPA members.

The MPA is a trade organisation that represents the worldwide interests of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal City Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Warner Bros Entertainment.

Launched in 2003, Taobao Marketplace is a consumer-to-consumer online shopping platform with more than 500 million registered users and 800 million product listings as of June 30.

It is a subsidiary of the Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group, which also runs business-to-consumer online retail site TMall. com and the business-to-business e-commerce services provider

"We hope the memorandum of understanding with the MPA will demonstrate to the industry and other interested parties our sincerity in protecting intellectual property rights," Alibaba Group spokesman John Spelich said.

The pact included a requirement for online shops on to hold a valid and active "publication licence" issued by the mainland government.

It also pushed for more transparent criteria against unco-operative sellers and joint operations with law enforcement to pursue serial offenders.

"We are very confident of seeing positive and immediate results arising from this initiative," said Mike Ellis, the president and managing director of MPA Asia-Pacific.

The Taobao companies - Taobao Marketplace, Juhuasuan group-shopping and eTao shopping search engine - have intensified their crackdown against pirated goods on its trading platforms "because it's the right thing to do", Spelich said.

It also hoped to be removed from the "notorious markets list" of 33 websites and physical sites that was published in March last year by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which develops US trade policy.

In a filing with the agency in February, Spelich said Taobao should not be on that list because of its anti-piracy measures.