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Best-Seller Yanked From Web

Publication Date: 
December 01, 2009
China Daily
Daniel Lindley

Professor Paul Goldstein, an expert in copyright and intellectual property law, is quoted on online copyright issues:

A Chinese website has removed a translation of Dan Brown's latest best-seller following complaints that it used copyrighted material without permission.

But some observers say the incident better illustrates the ease of posting copyrighted material on the Internet than of any lingering problems with Chinese piracy of copyrighted works, a big problem in the 1990s.


The episode with Yeeyan, however, points to copyright problems with the Web rather than with China, according to Paul Goldstein, an author and professor at the Stanford Law School who specializes in intellectual property.

"Historically, this has been a huge problem in China," he said. "But it seems to be getting better, so this is unusual. China views itself as bound by the international norms of copyright and is becoming a significant player on that stage as a copyright owner itself.

"(Copyright violations) happen everywhere. It is not surprising that it's been taken down, nor will it be surprising if it pops up somewhere else in China on some other website. It's hard to control."

In the late 1990s, Goldstein had one of his own books, Copyright's Highway, pirated in China. He learned of the violation when a student brought a pirated copy to California. But print piracy has largely given way to digital piracy in the last decade, he said. Unauthorized posting on the Web is a problem not only in China, but also in the US, Germany, the UK, France and other countries, he said.