China promises to step up action on piracy

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The world's greatest user of pirated software, China, has announced it is to crack down on piracy by ensuring that all government offices are using legitimate software.

Beijing says that all central and local bureaus will be inspected over the next eleven months to make sure they are compliant. Those that aren't will be given funds to buy the real thing.

"Greater efforts will be made to establish a long-term mechanism comprising funding, procurement, utilization and asset management for ensuring the use of genuine software among government organs," Yan Xiaohong, deputy head of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and vice-director of National Copyright Administration (NCA) told Xinhua.

While the prevalence of pirated software is falling in China, it still remains the highest in the world at nearly 80 percent, according to figures from IDC. The government has repeatedly said it wishes to eliminate piracy, but has previously done little to make that happen. Earlier this year, the World Trade Organization criticized China for allowing pirates to get away with anything up to 500 copies of illegitimate software.

China has also promised closer cooperation with the US, Japan and Europe in stamping out piracy. It claims that over 98 percent of computers sold last year had licensed operating systeoms pre-installed.

The authorities are also planning a new crack-down on pirated goods, including mobile phones and 'internet materials'.