Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Blame Canada!

There's an interesting post about the recent case by the US against China at the Danwei Blog. The original is here.

Blame Canada!
Posted by Maya Alexandri, April 18, 2007 04:08 PM

Yesterday, the State Council News Office held a press conference at which the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) news spokesperson Wang Ziqiang (王自强) responded to the WTO cases that the United States filed last week. China's position is both predictably general and surprisingly specific.

Predictably, counterfeiting is a world-wide problem that can't be eradicated in a short period of time. While China doesn't deny that its shops are teeming with counterfeit products, that's no reason for the WTO cases. Moreover, the WTO cases will strain Sino-US cooperative anti-counterfeiting efforts.

Surprisingly, in filing the WTO cases, the US is picking on China instead of focusing on the country with "the world's most serious piracy problem": Canada. Citing an International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) filing with the USTR, Wang Ziqiang explained that the United States' IP-related per capita losses in Canada were $16.78, compared with a staggeringly low per capita loss of $1.68 in China.

That per capita losses in Canada are greater than in China is almost inevitable: any number divided by 32 million will be larger than if it's divided by 1.3 billion. Curious about why the IIPA would bother with such a useless calculation, your correspondent checked the filing at issue. In fact, the numbers cited by the IIPA reflect industry-by-industry financial losses and the estimated levels of piracy. Regarding business software, for example, IIPA reports that 64% of business software in Canada is pirated, causing losses of $551 million. This compares to an 82% piracy rate in China, corresponding to losses of $1.9 billion.

Plainly, IIPA's numbers show that China, not Canada, is the worse offender. China, apparently, took the initiative to divide the loss figures by each country's respective population size to come up with a statistic that suggests otherwise.

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