China launches rewards for reporting piracy

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BEIJING, Sep 27 (Reuters) China has launched rewards of 100,000 yuan and sometimes higher for citizens who snitch on copyright violators, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the National Copyright Administration.

An organisation or individual who provides information that leads to a prosecution would receive a reward of up to 100,000 yuan (13,310 dollars), the NCA said in a press release. It set up a hotline and email address for citizens to send tips.

The reward could exceed 100,000 yuan for informants who made critical contributions to a case with national significance or involving an unusually large sum of money, the statement said yesterday.

''If there are two or more tipsters on one case, they will decide how to share the reward or just divide it evenly,'' it said.

Citizens shouldn't have to look too far. China's clothes markets are bursting with fake North Face jackets, Burberry raincoats, Puma sneakers and Louis Vuitton bags. Even one post office in Beijing includes a booth selling copied DVDs.

But they are unlikely to find unauthorized Beijing 2008 Olympics items, since reproduction of items bearing the official ''Fuwa'' or Five Friendly mascots has been strictly controlled. Beijing Olympic organisers expect to make 70 million dollars from merchandising from the 2008 Games.

The centre would keep the identities of informants confidential unless they agreed to publicity, the NCA said.

Those who contributed to investigating a piracy case would also be rewarded with up to 100,000 yuan for an organisation and up to 10,000 yuan to an individual.

The NCA, the police and Ministry of Information Industry are conducting a campaign against on-line piracy from August to October, Xinhua added.

Reuters KK VP0420

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