Shanghai confronts piracy ahead of the World Expo

As the city of Shanghai prepares to play host to the World Expo, teams of government inspectors have instructed some stores to begin hiding their pirated music CDs and movies until the show ends.

Stores in central Shanghai have started using temporary partitions that separate their shops in half, with pirated content hidden out of sight in a back room.  Store owners will then lead some customers into the fake back room where they can browse through pirated content.

Copyright holders remain frustrated they have been unable to convince Chinese officials to crackdown on wide-scale piracy located throughout the country’s major cities.  Even when blatant piracy and copyright infringement takes place, it can be extremely difficult to launch legal action to have piracy stopped in the country.

Shanghai confronts piracy ahead of the World Expo

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is especially concerned by this reported “crackdown” on piracy, which seems to be just a simple trick to make it appear that there is an attempt to stop piracy.

“Although various senior Chinese officials have made numerous statements in support of intellectual property protection and the fight against piracy, their talk has not been followed by sufficient action,” said Mike Ellis, MPAA President of Asia Pacific division, in a press statement.

I don’t agree with the MPAA on many issues, but this time they are right.  The country is just trying to trick western visitors into thinking that China does care about piracy. Nonetheless, visitors often shop for pirated material to send home as souvenirs.

Some western tech companies are hesitant to enter the Chinese market due to rampant piracy — despite a developing infrastructure and a large number of high-tech end users.

Facing continued criticism, Shanghai government officials said that at least 3,000 stores across the city have been closed. They also stated that if stores are constructing secondary rooms to sell pirated material, it wasn’t under the instruction from the city.