New Delhi, January 18 : Online piracy remains a challenge to protect intellectual property rights despite repeated crackdowns on it, a top official in China has said.
"Internet copyright infringement is still very prevalent in the country," the China Daily quoted Yan Xiaohong, vice-minister of the National Copyright Administration (NCA), as saying at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office.
Illegal downloads of movies, software, and music were the most common form of online piracy, he said.
He said that part of the problem was due to the lack of stringent punishments for violators, despite the fact that the internet industry was growing at a rapid pace.
Yan also promised to work more closely with both the justice and telecommunications authorities to curb infringements.
He revealed that there had been three nationwide crackdowns against online piracy since 2005, but admitted that "they only served to achieve limited results by dealing with a limited number of cases in a limited period of time".
Figures released by Yan show that 1,001 copyright infringement cases were investigated in the latest crackdown from August to October last year, 60 per cent more than the combined number in the two previous campaigns in 2005 and 2006.
He said that most violators in the 10 major cases investigated last year received fines of less than 4,000 dollars, and one violator received a sentence of two years with two years' reprieve.
"Fines and sentences meted out have not been enough. We must make offenders realize the costs of violation are too high for them to continue," he said.
The press was also told that investigating online piracy cases have become difficult with the advancement of the Internet industry and wider access, for many violators were hosting their servers abroad.