China & Intellectual Property Rights

China has a bad record on intellectual property rights (IPRs) protection. I have to confess that I am still "benefiting" from the free download of some teenager Hollywood films, but there is a deeper history in the intellectual property stuff.

The lack of protection for IPRs in China has a historic reason. The notion of property rights is a very new thing for Chinese society. In the past, for at least five thousand years, the emperor owns everything under the heaven. The emperor even owns the life of his people.

So the concept of property rights began to take root in people's mind in recent decades, and IPRs are even newer.

The four great inventions in ancient China has made huge contribution to the world civilizations. They are the compass, black powder, paper making and type printing. China didn't not ask for money for the usage of any of these invention, which is quite a big commercial loss from the capitalist perspective.

In the past, Chinese intellects produce all intellectual products to make social changes and express themselves. Poets encourage everyone to copy their poems and writings so that his work will be passed on through generations. In Chinese culture, money is always considered inferior and less important to spiritual and intellectual activities. This is no more true today, of course.

In comparison, western society is based on capital and money. The purpose of production is to make profit. When the guideline is different, policies and attitudes are also different.

Now the western rules are dominating, so China need to find out a middle way and proper strategy to join the big global game.

No comments: