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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

China's Big Movie Bust Was Really Made For Hollywood

When talk turns to Chinese music and movie copying, it's often said that the Chinese government does almost nothing to help US officials stop it from happening. However, in the last year or so, a few more stories have slipped out about Chinese-American cooperation in fighting counterfeiters. Wired Magazine has a long, but absolutely fascinating, story about one such crackdown. In fact, it reads something like a Hollywood movie plot. Maybe we'll soon be able to buy counterfeit versions of the DVD. However, what becomes very clear on reading it was that this crackdown was mostly convenient for a Chinese government that wants to appear tough on counterfeiting without actually doing much. The story is about a rich and troubled American heir from a famous family who ends up in China selling DVDs online. Taking him down served the Chinese government by making them look tough on the issue, while simultaneously showing that it wasn't just the Chinese behind the process... but "rich Americans." Also, it's unlikely his arrest actually did anything. He wasn't making the DVDs, but was simply the front end person selling them online -- and doing so rather stupidly, making him very easy to track down (he put his address on each DVD mailing) and used his real email address to register his domain. This wasn't a story about "cracking down" on DVD counterfeiting. It was a story about the Chinese government arresting a careless American scammer with a recognizable name.

[via TechDirt]

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