The Chinese government is starting a new campaign to fight the free flow of counterfeit and pirated software and DVDs, according to the country's official news service.
Citing comments made at a State Council meeting at which Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presided, the Xinhua News Agency reported this week that the goal is to clamp down on both the import and export of phony software, DVDs, publications, and other products that violate trademarks and patents.
Scheduled to start the end of October, the campaign will run for six months and will also target Internet piracy and fake goods sold online. The news report said the government would "mete out stern punishment to businesses involved in the import and export of such goods." To launch the new initiative, Chinese government agencies have been ordered to use only authorized software, said Xinhua.
China has long grappled with the issue of software and DVD piracy. The sale of counterfeit products has been a lucrative trade for the merchants who openly hawk them. U.S. businesses and the U.S. government have repeatedly pressured China to crack down on the illegal business, but the buying and selling has continued to thrive.
In recent years, software piracy has also proliferated on the Internet with illegal copies of movies and TV shows appearing on popular Chinese video-streaming sites.
A study on software piracy released in May by IDC and the Business Software Alliance pointed the finger at China as one of the world's largest markets for pirated software. The study claimed that the value of illegal software in the country reached $7.6 billion last year, $900 million more than in 2008.