Is it a cheap fake, or the real thing? \nSince buyers here can't always tell, authorities are planning new, high-tech identification seals for legal copies of audio and video products in China's latest effort to combat rampant piracy of movies and music, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. \nDespite tightened laws and repeated promises to crack down on widespread theft of trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property, illegal copies of movies, cassette disks and books are widely available. Many of the counterfeit items carry seemingly authentic, but fake seals. \nThe new seals, made with a special "biologically engineered" printing ink and carrying 13 unique markings, will be used beginning Sunday to help consumers and inspectors to distinguish between illicit and legitimate products, said Chen Tong, division chief of the ministry's Audio and Video Products Department in Beijing. \nAccording to Beijing-based Orient Anti-Forgery Technology Co, the company that made the new seals, each of the 13 markings will employ a different advanced technology, including "stealth" bar codes and handwritten Chinese characters. \nThe ministry will authorize 300 audio and video product makers and publishers to use the seals, which replace less sophisticated ones used since 1996, Chen said in a phone interview. \nThe old ID seals will be banned a year from now, he said. \nWill the new markings prevent piracy? \n"It's hard to tell," Chen said. "At least it will make faking markings and sales of pirated products more difficult because it will be easier to tell which products are unlicensed." \nThe ID marks used so far seem to have done little to prevent production and sales of pirated products. Peddlers of pirated CDs and DVDs sell their wares openly from sidewalk kiosks, and many bookstores have sections that specialize in pirated movies. \nMovies like The Last Samurai are screened in Shanghai homes long before their premieres in local theaters. Sometimes, the laughably mismatched subtitles, poor sound and giggles from cinema audiences where the illicit copies were filmed are dead giveaways. \nBut with some seemingly authentically packaged copies, it can be hard to tell. \nLast month, Blockbuster Inc, the video rental unit of entertainment giant Viacom Inc, announced it was ending its Hong Kong business and dropping plans to enter the Chinese market, citing rampant counterfeiting and high costs. \n"The mainland is certainly an attractive market looking at the demographics," said Michael Wong, Blockbuster's marketing manager in Hong Kong. Research showed, though, that with pirated movies selling for less than 10 yuan (US$1.20) apiece, there was no way to earn a "viable return," he said. \nChen, of the Culture Ministry, acknowledged that the identification seals would be no cure-all for the problem. \n"Look, anti-counterfeiting technology for currency is already very sophisticated," he said. "But there are still people faking it."
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South
‘CORRUPTION’: One DPP lawmaker and two KMT legislators were held incommunicado, while former NPP chairman Hsu Yung-ming was released on bail in the Pacific Sogo case The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that three lawmakers be held incommunicado amid a probe into allegedly bribery relating to an ownership dispute over Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). The three are Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) of the Democratic Progressive Party, and Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Also held incommunicado were Su’s office director Yu Hsueh-yang (余學洋) and Sufin’s office director Ting Fu-hua (丁復華), as well as Kuo Ke-ming (郭克銘), a political lobbyist and general manager of Knowledge International Consultancy (是知管理顧問公司). The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Friday raided the offices of six incumbent and former