Unlicensed Software Ban Shows Resolve

by Amit Ben-Yehoshua and Steve David Salem

Government Officials who allow the use of pirated software in their offices will face sanctions if they continue to do so after the deadline imposed by the State Council, amidst a push to increase the use of authorised software. This comes as the Copyright Protection Center report a record number of applications for software copyright protection in China, rising from 21,500 (2006) to 82,000 (2010).

Wang Ziqiang, spokesman for the National Copyright Administration, elaborated that all central government departments should ban the use of unauthorised software by May.

In addition, Yan Xiaohong, vice-minister of the General Administration of Press and Publication, announced a national inspection tour, composed of 12 teams, to launch early next month in order to supervise the use of licensed software. This represents a significant move by China aimed at stamping out the infringement of intellectual property rights. In total, the ban will affect 147 central government departments, according to a national conference held earlier this week in Beijing.

In fact, between October 2010 and February this year, central government offices spent 41 million Yuan ($6.16 million) purchasing or updating 53,915 sets of licensed software, according to Wang. It is also estimated under statistics from the Government Offices Administration, that since 2001, when the State Council started to enforce the use of licensed software, the central government has spent 1.3 billion Yuan on licensed software. Furthermore, a Ministry of Finance notice issued last December said that financial support would be available to central government departments in order to subsidise the purchase of legitimate software. 

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