Hollywood Embraces China Despite Ongoing Piracy Concerns30 Apr, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Microsoft announced it would bow the Xbox One video game and streaming media console in China in September. The Walt Disney Co. said it will pump an additional $800 million into its Shanghai Disney Resort, while its Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Warner Bros.’ Transcendence finished in the Top 5 at the Chinese box office through April 27.
Hollywood and U.S. tech companies continue to covet China’s burgeoning middle-class consumer market, which has helped create the world’s second-biggest box office and budding home entertainment market. At the same time, the communist country remains on The Office of the United States Trade Representative’s priority watch list of countries that that do not protect and enforce intellectual property rights.
In an April 30 release of the 25th annual “Special 301” report evaluating the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights among 82 U.S. trading partners, the USTR expressed “ongoing, serious concerns about the protection and enforcement of trade secrets with respect to China, and emerging concerns in other markets.”
Other countries on the “priority watch list” include Algeria, Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela.
“More than 30 million Americans owe their jobs directly to U.S. advances in global health, the development of the digital economy and the education and entertainment of billions of people worldwide,” USTR ambassador Michael Froman said in a statement. “USTR is fully committed to unlocking opportunity for those Americans to share their inventions and creations with people all over the world without their work being infringed or misappropriated.”
Meanwhile, Motion Picture Association of America CEO Chris Dodd issued a statement lauding the “Special 301” report as a critical tool in reducing online content theft around the world and ensuring that the hard work of Hollywood movie creators and makers is protected.
Dodd, who made no mention of China’s ongoing ranking among the most egregious facilitators of movie piracy, instead applauded Italy for cleaning up its act and being removed from the USTR’s list of intellectual property pirates.
“Italy has made a real effort to protect and support the people who work in its creative sectors,” Dodd said in a statement. “The MPAA applauds Italy’s leadership in developing a fast-track online enforcement system for massive infringements. The Italian communications authority has addressed the challenge of achieving a balance for the protection of users and creators alike and is to be commended for its work.”