Schiff Statement on Hu Jintao's Promise to Take Action on Software Piracy, Protectionism

Washington, DC -Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) released the following statement in response to Chinese President Hu Jintao's promise that his country will start providing funds for government agencies to buy legitimate software, and will also set up audits to monitor the purchase and management of legal software by those agencies:

“I welcome President Hu Jintao’s pledge to take action on software piracy,” Rep. Schiff said. “It will take a nationwide campaign against piracy to be successful, and one that includes civil and criminal measures. The toothless ‘administrative enforcement’ that People’s Republic of China authorities have used in the past, must become a thing of the past, replaced with meaningful and aggressive new action."

America is the largest creator, producer, and exporter of copyrighted material, and China is one of the top markets for American exports. However, China is also among the five countries on the 2010 International Piracy Watch List, as deemed by the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, Co-Chaired by Rep. Schiff.

“Piracy in these countries is largely the result of a lack of political will to confront the problem,” Rep. Schiff said.

China made the Watch List because of the scope and depth of its piracy problems, which cost U.S. copyright industries and millions of Americans who work in these companies billions of dollars. The combined copyright industries – movies, home video and television programming, music, books, video games and software – generate more revenues than any other single manufacturing sector, including automobiles and auto parts, aircraft and agriculture.

According to the Business Software Alliance, 80 percent of programs installed on personal computers in China are pirated, with a cost of $7.6 billion in 2009.

In 2009, industry estimates that global piracy costs U.S. firms more than $25 billion in lost sales annually. Countries on the 2010 Watch List in addition to China include Russia, Canada, Spain, and Mexico. The International Anti-Piracy Caucus is closely monitoring the serious problems of copyright piracy in all five of the countries on the 2010 International Piracy Watch List.