May 3, 2005 – The Bush administration has placed China on a ‘priority watch list’ for allegedly not doing enough to protect intellectual property rights.
China’s skeletal copyright laws and lackluster enforcement have combined to create a free-for-all haven for piracy, the US Trade Representative claims.
“China must take action to address rampant piracy and counterfeiting, including increasing the number of criminal (infringement) cases and further opening its market to legitimate copyright and other goods,” said acting US Trade Representative Peter Allgeier. (The Senate recently confirmed Robert Portman as USTR.)
While elevating China to “priority watch list” is largely symbolic, it does indicate the Bush administration’s willingness to pressure the Communist government to crack down on rampant piracy. Among the administration’s requests: criminal prosecutions, new laws, and adoption of the type of “anti-circumvention” laws found in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.