6th Dec 2023

Recording industry presses Brussels on Chinese piracy problem

  • Most Chinese digital markets consist of pirate content (Photo: EUobserver)

The recording industry has called on the European Commission to do more on the massive Chinese music piracy problem, two weeks ahead of the EU-China summit.

On Thursday (15 November), heads of three major record labels (Sony BMG, EMI and Universal Music Group), a smaller record label (Dramatico) and the interest group representing the global recording industry (IFPI) met with trade commissioner Peter Mandelson in Brussels.

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The group hoped to persuade the Commission to increase pressure on China to solve several major problems for the industry during the EU-China summit in Beijing on 28 November.

The internet piracy problem in China is one of the topics on the summit's agenda. According to recent estimates, over 99 percent of the Chinese digital market consists of pirated content.

The efforts of the Chinese government to deal with the problem - such as the closure of hundreds of download websites - have had little effect on the problem until now.

Two other issues of importance for the recording industry – the market access restrictions in place and the absence of broadcasting and public performance rights – will also be on the agenda.

The recording industry says that these three problems make it difficult to build a viable business in China, which explains the small number of sales revenues for European recording firms – only €56 million in 2006 for a country with 1.3 billion people.

"When the recording industry tries to defend its copyrights against online piracy in China, it is blocked by a combination of heavy procedural rules, woefully low levels of damages and injunctions too narrow to prevent ongoing infringement," John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of IFPI said.

"Chinese law has simply not kept pace with the explosion of online piracy," he added.

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