US files complaint with WTO

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab has announced that the US will file two complaints with the World Trade Organization against China over what Schwab described as "inadequate protection of intellectual-property rights." The complaints cover widespread piracy of US movies, music, and software along with market barriers that make legitimate works more difficult to buy. The recording industry expressed its support for the complaints: "This is a serious, significant, and welcome step by the US government. China has to date failed to institute the types of serious, systemic reforms and measures that would bring real accountability to the marketplace and secure compliance with its international obligations," said RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol in a statement.

The US had been engaged in bilateral talks with China but with very little results. In May 2006, the government mandated that all computers shipped in China contain only licensed software and said that it planned to begin removing unlicensed software from its own computers. It also passed a new law designed to keep its citizens from uploading copyrighted content to the Internet, mandating fines and/or the confiscation of property for those caught doing so. Nevertheless, as of late 2005, 90% of all software in use in China was pirated according to the Business Software Alliance, and although the situation has improved somewhat, it's still a major problem for the music, movie, and software industries.

News source: Ars Technica

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