`Computer Worms' Undermine China Piracy Talks
Poole, Teresa, The Independent (London, England)
The H W Electronic Corporation operates from a modest one-room office in a converted warehouse in Zhongguancun Street, Peking's "Electronics Street", an area which is home to most of the city's dian nao chong, or "computer worms".
The office is equipped with all that is necessary for its business: one desk, two chairs, and a desktop computer. The manager, who uses the name Mr Wan, is an obliging fellow: "Whatever software packages you need, I can get them for you at reasonable prices," he says, profering a printed list of what is available. It includes the newly developed "Chinese Star", a Chinese-language word-processing system; the authorised version retails for more than 2,000 yuan (pounds 50), but Mr Wan's boxed set of discs and manuals can be purchased for 200 yuan. Bring your own floppy disc, and Mr Wan will make a copy of your chosen software for 15 yuan.
A few miles away, under the cloud of a looming trade war, United States and Chinese negotiators will today reopen talks over copyright protection in China. Piracy of software, films, CDs and audio-visual products will be top of the agenda. It is less than three weeks before the 4 February deadline when the US is threatening massive trade sanctions over copyright abuse, and China is promising equally strong retaliation.
This time the US negotiating team includes trade representatives from the industries thatfeel most injured: Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Export Association of America; Jay Berman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America; and Robert Holleyman, president of the Business Software Alliance.
The grievances are many. A US trade official this week accused a state-owned company in Shenzhen of producing crates of laser discs of Walt Disney's The Lion King months before the hit movie was even released on videotape. …