China Seizes Websites, Clamps Down On Speech… Uses Copyright Infringement As The Excuse

from the but-of-course dept

We noted recently that China had promised the US it would ramp up efforts to “stop online piracy” in China, though at about the same time, we also had noted that it had ramped up its online censorship apparatus. Once again, the two things go hand in hand, as China has shut down hundreds of sites, and put greater restrictions on the web, increasing the overall censorship via The Great Firewall of China. And… it’s using copyright law as the excuse. Apparently some of the websites seized were distributing infringing files, so now China can claim that it’s just doing the same thing the US is doing, when it puts massive restrictions on the internet and seizes websites.

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Comments on “China Seizes Websites, Clamps Down On Speech… Uses Copyright Infringement As The Excuse”

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Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:


I guess that would kind of depend on your definition of the word “infringing.”

If you’re the type that considers this:

to be possible infringement, then I suppose you might have a point, however badly made.

There were also a lot of porn sites taken down for reasons I assume had nothing to do with infringement.

Anonymous Coward says:


I find it quite interesting that these sites were shut down first, then you ask if they can prove that they were *not* infringing.

As a thought experiment: prove to us that you are not in possession of a fairy princess with a wardrobe full of sparkly mushroom dresses. That seems quite outlandish to me, so it should be easy to prove, right?

But how could you truly prove that you do not possess something? What could you show us that we could not then say “perhaps the princess is in another castle?”

Perhaps I misunderstood your comment, and I certainly don’t know the full story beyond the snippet above, but I find the recent trend of “prove you are innocent” to be quite disturbing. If these sites truly were “infringing” in some way, wouldn’t it be a simple matter of proving that they were with evidence?

Anonymous Coward says:


We don’t need no steenking evidence! We’re the Chinese government! You are guilty if we say you are guilty! Selective enforcement is all the go here. Get used to it!

Of course, if you are good friends with the local Party boss, and — you know — there is a continuing flow of “donations” and “gifts”, well we can all be friends. No charges would ever have been brought. Isn’t that a lovely system? Wouldn’t you like to have one just like it in America? You are working on it? Good for you!

Hephaestus (profile) says:


“they will spend the thousands of dollars per year on our movies, music, and software that they have been stealing.”

To funny. The CIA fact book says the per capita salary in china is $7,600. With a US style 5% entertainment budget, thats about $380 USD a year.

Or if you do the numbers thats 780 million people times $380 USD per person a year or $296,400,000,000 US Dollars. Oh my god they are stealing almost a third of a trillion dollars from the US entertainment industry!!!!

Oh wait … world wide the entertainment industry only makes about a tenth of that.

Thank you for your patience in reading my industry math lesson. 😉

Dread says:


Article 35 of the Constitution of the PRC would seem to apply here as it is their “freedom of speech” article. However, depending on how you read it (and the Communist Party — who are in power and wish to remain in power — will read it this way) articles 51, 52, 53 and 54 can easily be used to trump any (and all) other articles. These 4 articles essentially translate to “the good of the many outweighs the good of the one” (in my reading).

DannyB (profile) says:


If they allow posting of any kind of messages that could potentially include links to infringing content then they are “enablers and facilitators”. (Those are the words of copyright supporters here.)

They accuse Google of being an “enabler and facilitator”. If Google is a “rogue” website for merely linking (and automatically at that) to sites that actually host infringing material, then anyone can be considered a “rogue” site that is an “enabler and facilitator”.

But go after the actual site that is actually hosting infringing material? Heavens No! That would undermine the ability to continue to sue other “rogue” “enablers and facilitators” like Yahoo and Bing. Gee, this starts to sound very RightHaven like.

DannyB (profile) says:


It works similar here. We have the 1st, 4th, 5th and other amendments.

To neutralize those (or to be “balanced”) we have the PATRIOT act, and soon the PROTECT-IP act.

Also government agencies can obtain secret letters to do just about anything they want; under rules that make due process more “flexible”; that secretly “expedite” prosecution; and that make it a crime to even reveal that you have been targeted / prosecuted / persecuted. To make matters {better|worse} secret evidence can be used against you at a show trial, the proceedings of which are of course also secret.

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