Crackdown on intellectual property piracy pays off


The first joint effort between Japan and Taiwan to crack down on the pirating of intellectual property has led to the seizure by Taiwanese police of nearly 10,000 Japanese DVDs sold in the island’s night markets, local police said Saturday.

Shyh Show-yi, deputy commander of the National Police Administration’s Intellectual Property Rights Division, said the seizure capped a five-month operation that began in November when five Japanese TV stations filed a complaint.

The five stations — Japan Broadcasting Corp., Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc., Nippon Television Network Corp., Fuji Television Network Inc. and Yomiuri Telecasting Corp. — asked agency in charge of policing Japanese copyright claims overseas, the Content Overseas Distribution Association, to work with its Taiwanese counterpart in the hope that cross-border legal action could help curb distribution of pirated Japanese TV dramas in Taiwan.

Takero Goto, senior executive director of CODA, said cracking down on piracy is a long-term project that requires the concerted collaboration of CODA, intellectual property rights owners and the police.

“The seizure today is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

Established in 2002 with the support of the Cultural Affairs Agency and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, CODA is a private umbrella group of Japanese content providers and copyright-related organizations. Its goal is to “stamp out piracy and promote the legal distribution of Japanese content, in particular in Asia.”

Since then, CODA has teamed up with the Motion Picture Association of the United States to crack down on the pirating of Japanese and American films in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Statistics provided by CODA show that since the crackdown was strengthened in 2005, over 3,300 people have been arrested for making or selling pirated Japanese content and 6.2 million illegal pirated DVDs and infringing optical discs have been confiscated.

While the joint campaign to crack down on American movies has yielded success, pirates have turned to Japanese soap operas produced by TV stations.