Record Chiefs Warn On Fake China

A posse of high-ranking record company execs was in Brussels to alert EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to the serious piracy and market access problems they face when trying to do business in China.

Dramatico Entertainment chairman Mike Batt, Sony BMG chief ops officer Tim Bowen, EMI Music International JF Cecillon, IFPI chairman and chief exec John Kennedy, and Max Hole – Universal’s Asian Pacific executive vice president for marketing and A&R – converged on the EU capital to talk to Mandelson a couple of weeks ahead of the November 28 EU-China trade summit.

The delegation was out to explain how Internet piracy is dominating the 1.4 billion-population Chinese market to such an extent that it’s only producing euro 56 million worth of annual revenues, which is similar to much smaller countries such as Poland, Portugal, Greece and Finland.

The comparatively miniscule Dutch market with its 16.5 million or so inhabitants produces three times that amount.

Internet piracy in China has 99 percent of the digital market, a situation exacerbated by a massive infringement of intellectual property rights and a total absence of broadcasting and public performance rights.

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