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China gets serious about copyright.

If China wants to create more of its own online content, it needs stronger protections for intellectual property (IP), according to the founders of Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, China's Internet powerhouses.

Tencent Chief Executive Officer Pony Ma recently told the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen that improving copyright protections will help Chinese companies develop a mature business model for video, music, and animation, Bloomberg reported.

Respecting IP rights has long been a sore spot between China and the United States. In fact, China has been on a U.S. Trade Representative watch list for the past 25 years. Pony Ma says the country has come a long way during that time.

"China's Internet development in the past 18 years has evolved from total disorder that did not pay attention to intellectual property rights in the past to now, when it pays more and more attention. Although it didn't fully fix the problem, gradually it's improving."

In November, the country opened its first specialized court in Beijing to address IP cases. Additional courts are being set up in Shanghai and Guangzhou to handle cases on patents, trademarks, and computer software issues. This is all part of the government's efforts to make it easier for domestic companies to develop content for the country's 632 million Internet users, Bloomberg noted.

The government can't do it alone, however. Alibaba's Jack Ma, known as the country's richest man, pointed out that "[m]any problems cannot be solved by government. It's about society, education, culture. All of the stakeholders should come together to solve those problems."

Alibaba, Asia's largest Internet company, has taken strong measures to solve such issues regarding IP. In 2012 it was removed from the U.S. government's Notorious Markets list after cracking down on 87 million listings in its Taobao Marketplace that may have breached IP rules, Bloomberg reported. This has helped the company to build its credibility, making it much more attractive for distribution deals with such major players as Warner Music Group.

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Title Annotation:COPYRIGHT
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Conference news
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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