Shanghai 'Crackdown' On Bootleg Discs Just Moves Them Underground
from the well-that's-useful dept
For many years, we’ve pointed out the futility of the entertainment industry’s constant focus on “shutting down” any source of unauthorized material. Every time they do so, the content sharing continues to grow — it just moves further underground and makes it that much more difficult for the industry to actually use it to their own advantage. It appears this happens not just online, but offline as well. We’ve noted recently that China has been paying lip service to external pressures to “crack down” on infringement, often by using copyright and patent laws to go after foreign companies as well. But it appears to also be playing itself out in other ways.
The NY Times is covering how Chinese officials have been going around to DVD and CD shops that have lots of unauthorized bootlegs, and telling them that for the World Expo (which begins May 1), they need to stop selling that content so directly. It appears most of the shops all responded in nearly identical ways: cutting their stores in half by putting up a wall in the middle, then placing legitimate discs upfront, and putting all the bootlegs on the other side of the wall, with a “secret” doorway. The effort was so consistent that some accuse Chinese officials of suggesting this to store owners. Some stores readily admit that after the Expo ends, they’ll tear down the wall and return to a single storefront.
Either way, it’s quite similar to what we’ve seen online. You can “crackdown” all you want, and it never actually slows down the trade in unauthorized content. It just moves it further underground… or, perhaps, behind a (not so) secret wall.