Whack-A-Mole: A Brief History of Music Piracy in China

Posted on Sep 30, 2014 in Copyright Law

Copyright owners have long lamented rampant media piracy in China. For years, international film and music industry groups have estimated the piracy rate for optical disc media (CDs, DVDs, and VCDs) to be at least eighty-five to ninety percent. As recently as 2011, virtually all music downloads in China were unauthorized. Subsequently, the international major record labels struck an accord with some of China’s major search engines.

Police officers look on as a road roller is used to destroy confiscated pornographic DVDs and pirated publications in Xi'an

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>> Eric Priest is Assistant Professor and LL.M. Program Faculty Director at the University of Oregon School of Law, and a veteran of the Chinese digital music industry. This article is an excerpt from his “Copyright Extremophiles: Do Creative Industries Thrive or Just Survive in China’s High Piracy Environment?,” Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2014, and is republished here with permission. The full article can be downloaded here.