Search

 

Cablegate: Taiwan: Campus Ipr Enforcement Improves, but Piracy

VZCZCXRO0037
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHIN #1655/01 3310811
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260811Z NOV 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0448
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 TAIPEI 001655

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

STATE PLEASE PASS USTR
STATE FOR EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/EP
USTR FOR RAGLAND AND WINELAND
USDOC FOR 4430/ITA/MAC/AP/OPB/TAIWAN
USDOC FOR USPTO GIN, BROWNING, AND SNYDOR

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON KIPR ETRD PGOV TW
SUBJECT: Taiwan: Campus IPR Enforcement Improves, but Piracy
Continues

REFTEL:

A) 2001 Taipei 1681
B) 2004 Taipei 533
C) 2006 Taipei 562
D) 2006 Taipei 4007
E) 2004 Taipei 3953
F) 2007 Taipei 2529
G) 2007 Taipei 2595
H) Taipei 8
I) Taipei 49
J) Taipei 1318
K) Taipei 745
L) 2007 Taipei 2005

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Spurred by U.S. encouragement, the Taiwan Ministry of
Education (MOE) made combatting campus intellectual property rights
(IPR) violations a priority over the past 12 months, and Taiwan
universities' enforcement activities have increased. Over the Plan's
second six months, the Plan's requirements and incentives spurred
schools to increase enforcement efforts, and the MOE is helping
schools to implement best practices across Taiwan. Students
continue to use TANet for unauthorized file sharing and other
digital piracy, but rights holders confirm cooperation with the MOE
improved over the second six months of the plan, and that schools
are tracking and punishing violations. Industry, however, still
reports widespread use of pirated or unlicensed software. On-campus
textbook copying and other physical infringement appear to have
continued their decade-long decline due to heightened awareness and
enforcement, but rights holders report continuing off-campus piracy.
End summary.

Background
----------

2. (SBU) Taiwan's teachers and administrators have traditionally
viewed campuses as havens from normal law enforcement. Universities
rarely refer students to the police or prosecutors' offices for
non-violent crimes, including IPR violations, and prosecutors are
wary of taking action to address such problems. The last major
crack-down on campus piracy--an attempt in 2001 by the Tainan
District Prosecutors Office to prosecute 14 students at national
Chengkung University for sharing MP3 files (ref A)--set off a strong
reaction from administrators, students, and the Taiwan public and
led to the reassignment of the prosecutors involved. Unauthorized
textbook copying and digital piracy, therefore, remain common on
Taiwan's campuses (refs B, C, D, and E).

3. (SBU) After an initial suggestion from the United States led to
several rounds of consultations with campus representatives, the
Ministry of Education (MOE) began implementing the Campus IP Action
Plan in November 2007 (ref F). The Action Plan did not impose new
requirements on students--even the MOE's original proposal to
require that all university students take a short "IPR Knowledge
Test" before getting access to campus libraries or computer networks
was dropped in the face of university complaints--but instead
reflected the MOE's belief that the best way to reduce illegal
copying and downloads is by encouraging schools to follow the best
practices in the Taiwan university community (ref F). Under the
Plan, the MOE publicly grades each university's performance on
numerous IPR-protection metrics in order to promote best practices,
as well as to shame less successful schools into taking more
action.

Action Plan Leads to Enforcement
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) The MOE's initial efforts under the Action Plan spurred
universities to deal more seriously with IPR (ref G), and this
progress continued over the Plan's second six months. Although
some administrators told us last year the Plan had not changed the
way they protect IPR on campus, over the past six months,
administrators from the dozen schools econoff has recently visited
have told us their schools have stepped up efforts in response to
the plan. On October 16, Yang Chi-jin, Southern Taiwan University
of Technology Library Director Yang Chi-jing, briefed econoff on the
university's new, more aggressive program to combat IPR violations.
Yang, who is responsible for STUT's overall IPR-protection efforts,
said the MOE Computer Center now sends regular requests from
industry groups to the university to investigate alleged TANet

TAIPEI 00001655 002 OF 004


violations. Yang said her office, which had never received similar
requests from the MOE in the past, must investigate and respond
quickly to each request. Administrators from all other schools
econoff spoke with echoed this.

5. (SBU) Some schools that reported less drastic improvements during
the Plan's first six months are now taking more aggressive actions.
Professor Wen-jen Hsieh, Director of the Library at National Cheng
Kung University in Tainan, reported to econoff in late 2007 that the
Action Plan had not initially spurred Cheng Kung to take extra steps
to combat piracy (ref H). On November 14, however, Hsieh detailed to
econoff a wider set of IP-protection measures Cheng Kung has taken
since then, including more aggressively monitoring illegal downloads
on TANet, shutting down campus access to the most notorious P2P
websites, and increasing IP-protection coordination across
departments.

MOE Responding to Digital Piracy
--------------------------------

6. (SBU) When it announced the Plan end-October 2007, the MOE
agreed to form a task force that would include representatives from
the Taiwan Book Publishers' Association (TBPA), the Business
Software Alliance, the Taiwan International Federation of the
Phonographic Industry (IFPI), and the Taiwan Foundation Against
Copyright Theft (TFACT) [Note: TFACT was formerly called the Motion
Picture Association - Taiwan. End note.] Initially, these groups
complained the MOE did not meet regularly with rights holders, did
not seem interested in cooperating closely with them in implementing
the Plan (refs H, I), and did not respond in detail to rights-holder
reports on possible copyright violations on TANet (ref J).

7. (SBU) However, representatives from all four major industry
groups tell us that although students continue to use TANet for
unauthorized file sharing and other digital piracy, industry's
communication and cooperation with the MOE improved over the second
six months of the plan. The MOE pledged in May to respond to
individual complaints about TANet infringements every 60 days (ref
K), and industry groups confirm the MOE has made good on the
promise. On November 24, Stella Lai of the Taiwan branch of the
Business Software Alliance (BSA) told econoff BSA sends about 50
notices per month to the MOE about possible infringing incidents on
TANet. Lai said the MOE responds within six to eight weeks
confirming whether the incidents were violations, and describing
actions taken by the schools in response. According to Lai, school
actions range from removing the infringing material, freezing the
student's TANet account, and, in rare cases, terminating the
account. Although rights-holder groups would like MOE responses to
include details, they are all satisfied with the MOE's increased
feedback.

Software Piracy Still a Problem
-------------------------------

8. (SBU) BSA's Taiwan representative, Gina Tsai, acknowledges the
MOE has made progress dealing with Internet piracy on Taiwan's
campuses, but says the Ministry is failing to deal with software
piracy. BSA member companies say through Internet monitoring,
software sales records, and student enrollment figures for classes
using AutoCad and other expensive software, the companies know many
universities either buy too few licenses for the number of students
who use the software ("under-licensing"), or simply allow students
to use pirated versions.

9. (SBU) Although BSA does not think the problem is any worse on
campuses than it is among the general population (ref H), they are
frustrated the Ministry of Education does not seem willing to deal
with the problem. Tsai said when BSA detects probable
under-licensing of member software on campuses, university
administrators typically either assure BSA no university computers
use illegal software, or claim many professors' computer
labs--though connected to TANet through the school--are funded with
private-sector grants and are therefore not subject to university
compliance measures. BSA's Lai told econoff many professors tell
member companies they should turn a blind eye to campus
under-licensing, since their students may one day go on to purchase
the software to use professionally.

10. (SBU) BSA is also frustrated the police are not willing to
enforce copyright laws on campuses. On November 24, Tsai told
econoff she met earlier in the day with a local prosecutors' office
to discuss the case of a university student allegedly selling burned
copies of Windows XP from his campus dormitory room. Tsai said

TAIPEI 00001655 003 OF 004


although the prosecutor agreed evidence shows the student is likely
committing a crime, the prosecutor indicated to her his office--out
of respect for academic independence--will not go onto the campus to
investigate, but will instead ask the university to take action.

11. (SBU) Many school administrators econoff meets with acknowledge
some students may be using illegally-copied software, but the
officials invariably argue legal software is often too expensive for
individual students and, in some cases, for universities. Director
Chao of the MOE Computer Center told econoff on November 14 that, in
response to schools' complaints about the high cost of software, the
MOE is now offering small subsidies to universities to buy legal
software.

Textbook Piracy Down, Not Out
-----------------------------

12. (SBU) University administrators continue to report on-campus
copying of textbooks is less rampant and less visible in Taiwan year
over year. Although a 2007 survey showed that roughly half of
college students still buy pirated versions of some books and
supplementary materials (ref L), administrators at every university
econoff recently visited noted the problem of illegal textbook
copying has almost disappeared at on-campus copy shops. They also
report off-campus copy shops are either more reluctant to copy
textbooks in whole or in part, or have begun to refuse to copy morethan a few pages of any one book. University officials believe
on-campus shops are fearful of MOE-mandated copy-shop lease
agreements that include anti-piracy clauses, and that off-campus
shop owners are increasingly aware that copyright violations could
result in fines or arrest.

13. (SBU) The Taiwan Book Publishers' Association (TBPA), however,
complains that the problem has merely gone underground. According
to TBPA's Theresa Liu, although near-campus copy shops now rarely
openly display copied materials, the shops still take orders through
representatives on campus and standing student relationships, then
deliver books directly to customers. Liu added even professors
commonly copy pages or whole chapters of books for handing out in
class.

14. (SBU) TPBA has collected strong, though indirect, evidence to
bolster their claims of continuing copyright violations on Taiwan's
campuses. During the 2008 fall semester, TBPA conducted a survey of
usage rates for member textbooks in 34 classes at 21 Taiwan
universities. According to the information they gathered from
school administrators and campus bookstores, an average of only 28
percent of students in each class bought the textbook from the
university bookstore, including 14 classes whose students did not
buy even one copy of the book. Although Liu says some students may
have found the books from other sources, she thinks most students
simply bought pirated versions. TBPA plans to present the final
results of their investigation to the MOE in December.

15. (SBU) School and publishers remain reluctant to seek other ways
to pay textbook royalties. In the United States and many other
countries, schools pay royalties for journals and other copyrighted
materials used in classes through the Copyright Clearance Center and
similar clearinghouses. Taiwan has one such for-profit
clearinghouse, the Chinese Oral and Literary Copyright Intermediary
Association (Colcia). According to TBPA's Liu however, publishers
say the per-page prices offered by Colcia are far below fair value.
In addition, MOE Senior Specialist Chang Chung-hsin recently told
econoff rights holders in Taiwan are unfamiliar with and do not
trust for-profit copyright clearance services, and most do not want
to authorize them to manage copyright issues on campus.

Comment
-------

16. (SBU) Although the MOE and many campus officials were initially
unenthusiastic about the Campus IP Action Plan, the increasing
attention paid by officials and college administrators to campus IPR
protection suggest Taiwan is paying more than lip service to curbing
campus violations. Music, movie, and software industry groups are
pleased with Taiwan's actions against TANet piracy, though continued
progress--including passing the long-awaited Internet service
provider (ISP) law in the coming months, which the Taiwan
authorities expect by the end of December--will be key to further
reducing digital piracy on Taiwan's campuses. Taiwan's progress on
campus enforcement, a key problem listed in this year's Special 301
IPR Watch List citation, underscores the importance of completing
the out-of-cycle review on Taiwan's Watch List status. End comment.

TAIPEI 00001655 004 OF 004

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC