China piracy – a brief look at the Sinascape

Every time I start to write about China it feels like there are too many things going on at once and the challenge is to pick the one or two key points worth talking about. I came across this article on Gary Gang Xu who has written a book on the current state of Chinese cinema.

Xu fills out the detail on the power struggle between US and Asian cinema which was understandably missing from MPAA’s report published last year (and re-iterated this year by the local China Film Copyright Association).

Xu tells us that pirating Hollywood films is widely tolerated – no surprised there. But what is more interesting is how Chinese films are not ignored by the pirates (as some sources have suggested) but are widely pirated and act as widely distributed adverts for a subsequent TV series bearing the same name. Apparently that is where the directors make their money, althout Xu also tells us that TV series are widely pirated too!

The change in the direction of the flow of cultural goods – i.e. historically from US to Asia, and now in both directions – may in the future provide an impetus to Chinese content owners to press for more rigorous protection of their copyrighted material.

The Musically newsletter recently reported on Music Label Competition in China and talked about how the “Chinese diaspora” may be a large future market for the music emanating from Chinese/Hong Kong/ Taiwan labels which currently constitues 60%  of the Chinese recorded music market (80% according to some other sources).

The first commercial music download services are launching, with locally priced subscriptions. Digital makes up at least 30% of revenues for labels. The expected popularity of mobile services makes it slightly easier to police soem casual piracy.

But when these Chinese labels start selling throgh digital services to Chinese overseas they may start to get an inkling of what their revenues might increase to if they could sell to the domestic market. At this point self-interest would dictate that they seek to minimise losses from piracy and turn to the government to take copyright issues and enforcement seriously.

With no obvious model to benefit from piracy like the pirated films promoting tv, and the other film model whereby Hollywood remakes Chinese films, Chinese music producers clearly have a different set of problems and interests which may be more aligned with the interests of the global recording industry than the Chinese moviemakers’ interests are aligned with the MPAA. 

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Explore posts in the same categories: China, MPAA, Music, US, Video/Film

One Comment on “China piracy – a brief look at the Sinascape”

  1. nisha Says:

    Hi Great blog , My squidoo lens is also on same subject. I hope u dont mind if i share its details here 🙂 Are DVD Decrypter Programs Hurting the Movie Industry?

    You should really stop and consider this question carefully. First

    there is a clear indication that DVD decrypter programs are used in a bad

    manner such as making illegal copies of movies for sale. But are you

    aware that there are actually legal situations that allow you to create

    copies of the movies you own on DVD? With most movies costing close to

    $20 each it is quite easy to see why people look for anything they can

    to help reduce replacement costs.


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