Why is there so much intellectual piracy in China?

Essay by AsiapacificUniversity, Bachelor'sA, January 2008

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Why is there so much intellectual piracy in China?Recently China has taken a number of important steps towards appeasing the international community's concerns regarding intellectual piracy within China (Paradise, 2005 and Dao Wen, 2004). It has enacted legislation on patents, trademarks, copyrights and computer software (Paradise, 2005). Despite these measures intellectual piracy remains commonplace in China, and China has the worst piracy rate in the world; in fact 92 percent of the software in China is pirated (Williams, 2004 and Cain, 2004). This discrepancy between the widespread existence of pirated goods and China's seemingly proactive measures for cracking down on intellectual property theft can be traced to several key factors, namely: the Chinese economy's reliance upon pirated goods, both tacit and overt national and local government approval of piracy and technological advances that are making pirating media a more and more efficient enterprise. In this essay I will therefore examine the aforementioned causes of China's widespread piracy problem and argue that despite the Chinese government's aesthetic attempts to stamp out piracy, the problem is far more widespread and unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

However, one explanation for China's rampant piracy problem may lie outside of its' borders. Hornbrook (2006) argues that an obvious reason why piracy is so prevalent in China is that the "factories that produce so much of what the world wants are located there". The piracy epidemic in China therefore represents one of the fundamental principles of economics, namely supply and demand. There is so much intellectual piracy in China because the demand for pirated goods is staggering. In fact piracy is such a competitive industry within China that Gilley (2001) and Lusby (2004) believe that it's easier for manufacturers to export their fake goods than to compete with domestic markets and...