Media Piracy in China

In China,  it is very common for people to get digital resources without any charge through the Internet. By the process of downloading bit-torrenting, a large amount of media materials can be found , such as music, film and television dramas . Most of these are pirated, which severely damages the copyright issue and leaves the production company in a  low-profit status quo.

For the music industry, there is a transition for singers and bands in China . As one BBC report points out, the music piracy leaves the whole market in chaos. Agi is a singer who runs a band in London, the singer made about $2000 a month from music with her band Mika Bomb. But she can earn nearly double price  just in one commercial gig in China. Without the royalties, the illegal downloading of music and pirated CD makes the bands finding another way to survive in China.  Websites such as Baidu, offers a search engine for music downloading through website links, however, many resources are somewhat illegal. What makes the situation worse is that due to the less revenue earned by music production , the band has no sufficient fund to market themselves. They  have to join the large brands, such as Apple to use the  resource of big company to promote their self-images. It harms the diversity of music production, as the market is dominated by the decision of big media corporation, on the other hand, it is also hard for grassroot music composers to gain profit.  Unlike the concert in London, Agi says the music in China is just as tool to sell things, and  the basic  motivation is not for the enjoyment of music or  attraction for the genuine music fans.

The DVD pirates also run rampantly  in China that 50% of DVDs sold in China are unlicensed. The Legal viewing of foreign films is scant among the Chinese audiences. Combined with the illegally copied music , designer clothes and other goals, in China it  causes approximately $50 billion loss of potential sales a year.

Nonetheless, digital technology also liberates the information flow. It leaves the choices of accessing information on the hand of consumers , and breaks the blocks of media regulation in different places. For instance , in China , people can watch the different versions of films that are prohibited by the government. Another advantage is for the overseas film companies,  pirated DVD or digital recourse can also open a new market which it couldn’t reach.

And the piracy issue has also been emphasized by the Chinese government recently, as the paramount leader Hu Jintao says “to deal with piracy is the urgent need for enhancing country’s core competitiveness”.  Baidu and Youku, one is the largest search engine in China and another is the major uploaded video website (like YouTube), have deleted huge amount of pirated videos and musics. YouKu also operated a user-pay service for watching the recent released blockbusters. In addition,  several torrent-supply websites have been shut down. The battle continues and the problem needs more effort to deal with.


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