China's Public Prosecutors Complain About Leak Of Anti-Corruption TV Series They Bankrolled To Raise Awareness

from the in-the-name-of-the-people dept

As further evidence of how things are changing in China when it comes to attitudes to piracy, here's a news item from Caixin about the leak of the hottest TV series there at the moment:

A glossy Chinese television drama, inspired by the country's ongoing anti-graft campaign, has become the latest victim of rampant piracy, fueled by slack laws, weak enforcement and the absence of punitive fines.

A story about China's public prosecutors who dredge up a series of scandals as they investigate shady land deals, organized crime and [state-owned enterprise] reforms, In the Name of the People became an instant hit when it debuted on March 28 and has become one of the most-watched TV programs in Chinese history.

What makes an otherwise humdrum story about popular TV episodes turning up on video-sharing sites rather unusual is who is doing the complaining:

China's state prosecutors' office, which bankrolled the $12 million production, and other producers said they had reported the copyright infringement to police, and urged platforms including cloud services, e-commerce shops and video hosting sites to remove all unauthorized versions, in a joint statement last Thursday.

China's state prosecutors are not normally in the business of bankrolling TV productions. Presumably, they took that unusual step on this occasion because it was important to increase public support for Xi Jinping's long-running fight against corruption's "tigers" and "flies" using a medium that would reach a much wider audience than dull government speeches or press articles exhorting them to do the same.

One of the best ways to ensure the widest possible audience for that message would be to allow the TV series to appear on sites for people to download freely. So asking the companies running them to remove copies in order to "protect" the official broadcasts seems perverse. If anything, it shows that respect for copyright in China has now gone so far as to be harmful to more serious matters like tackling the country's corruption.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2017 @ 6:44pm


    "We don't want you to see this."
    "We're going to make a big fuss about this show getting pirated."

    What better possible way of marketing the show could they have come up with?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Champion, 25 Apr 2017 @ 2:14am


    "quick make a fuss before they notice we're doing what they claim"
    "we're the good guys us"
    "piracy bad't good"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2017 @ 4:54am

    Looks like corruption investigators gone...corrupt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2017 @ 7:52am

    If only they could figure out who to pay off to make this copyright issue go away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Ninja (profile), 25 Apr 2017 @ 8:12am

    Re: Brilliant!

    Streisand done awesomely right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2017 @ 8:23am

    Re: Brilliant!

    Hopefully that is the case. Otherwise, the only other reason I can see, is they didn't bankroll it to raise awareness. They bankrolled it to make a profit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Retsibsi (profile), 25 Apr 2017 @ 10:49am

    Haven't they missed the point? They've found *exactly* the target audience they were aiming at... They couldn't have done better no matter how hard they tried. There are marketing executives weeping into their G&Ts even as they learn the news

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Châu, 25 Apr 2017 @ 6:18pm

    No piracy

    TV series from government, create with tax money is public domain. People can distribute, they pay for create it with their tax money!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 26 Apr 2017 @ 5:38am

    Re: No piracy

    This is why the government should *NEVER* be allowed to hold copyright on anything it produces.

    This also serves to remind the people that they're being indoctrinated with pro-government propaganda. If the net result is that they take the show with a hefty pinch of salt, it's a win-win.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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