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Cablegate: Moe Backtracking On Campus Ip Action Plan?

VZCZCXRO7616
RR RUEHGH
DE RUEHIN #1710/01 2130550
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010550Z AUG 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6206
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7079
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 4116
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 3794
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8326
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1253
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0431
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 5977

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001710

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO AIT/W
STATE FOR EAP/RSP/TC and EB/TPP/IPE
STATE ALSO PASS USTR FOR WINELAND/ALTBACH/STRATFORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ECON ETRD USTR TW
SUBJECT: MOE Backtracking on Campus IP Action Plan?


Summary
-------
1. (SBU) In response to media, student, and university criticism
that the Ministry of Education (MOE) overstepped its bounds in its
recently-proposed "Campus Intellectual Property (IP) Action Plan",
Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng announced that the action plan is
still open to changes and that the MOE will listen to their opinions
before finalizing the plan in August. The MOE's final plan will
likely encourage rather than require universities to implement the
plan's proposals, which include having students take an intellectual
property rights (IPR) test before gaining access school computers
and libraries, monitoring student bandwidth usage to detect possible
illegal downloads, and punishing students found making illegal
copies of textbooks. Although the MOE drafted the action plan in
response to encouragement from the U.S. to improve campus
intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement, the Ministry did not
consult with AIT or the U.S. before writing the plan. END SUMMARY

Campus IP Action Plan
---------------------
2. (SBU) Following Assistant USTR Timothy Stratford's March 22
letter urging Taiwan to set up a task force for improving IPR
protection at Taiwan universities, the MOE formed an
inter-ministerial task force and initiated the "Campus IP Action
Plan" headed by MOE Political Deputy Minister Lu Mu-lin. Lu
convened the task force in April and--with no U.S. input--began
drafting an action plan. The draft plan called for universities to
institute a mandatory IP knowledge quiz that students must pass in
order to use the campus internet and library; to monitor campus
computer networks for possible illegal downloads; to provide a
platform for the buying and selling of used books; and to set a
standard operating procedure for handling suspected IPR infringement
cases. On July 3, Lu invited representatives from the Taiwan
Intellectual Property Association (TIPA), student groups,
universities, and government offices to discuss the draft plan.
TIPA had only received the plan on July 2 and was therefore not
prepared to comment, but the other representatives discussed the
draft in detail, and following clarification and slight
modifications, the draft met with no strong objections.

Public Reaction the Action Plan
-------------------------------
3. (SBU) On July 23, the Chinese-language United Daily News ran a
front page story claiming that, under U.S. pressure, the MOE planned
to deny student IDs to students who do not pass an IP knowledge
exam. The story also claimed that the MOE will require school
officials to check student computers for illegal downloads. News of
the plan sparked criticism from the academic community that the MOE
is overstepping its bounds in trying to establish campus IPR police
and that university authorities have no right to monitor student
downloads or deny students library access. Students complained that
the MOE's measures would create conflict between students and
university administrators, would be ineffective in improving campus
IPR protection, and could affect students' future employment by
saddling them with criminal records for IPR violations. Although the
article quoted Deputy Minister Lu's comment that the idea for an IPR
test came from a central-Taiwan university, several KMT legislators
also expressed their opposition to the measures in television
interviews, complaining that the MOE is caving in to U.S. requests.
(Note: the Minister of Education is from the DPP. End note.)


MOE May Backtrack on Plan
-------------------------
4. (SBU) Faced with such criticism, Taiwan authorities have thus
far made no strong statements in defense of the plan. Minister Tu
emphasized during a July 23 visit to Ming Chuan University that the
action plan is a draft only and the MOE is still open to changes,
and Director He Chou-fei of the MOE's Higher Education Department
told the press the same day that the MOE will only encourage, not
require, schools to implement an IP knowledge test, and that there
will be no restrictions on student and library IDs. Moreover, he
said that the Ministry would not ask schools to monitor computers
and servers but instead student bandwidth usage. In response to a
July 31 inquiry from AIT, Fu Mu-long, Commissioner of the Ministry
of Education's Student Affairs Commission, said that the MOE will
meet on August 8 to discuss changes to the plan, which is still
"flexible," and will make details of the final action plan public
later in August.

Comment
----------

TAIPEI 00001710 002 OF 002


5. (SBU) Although coverage has been limited to the United Daily
News, media criticism of the Campus IP action caught the MOE off
guard, and we believe that the Ministry will soften the language of
the plan's final version to encourage rather than require schools to
take the steps outlined in the plan. Even with this change,
however, the action plan would be a step forward for the MOE in
accepting responsibility for bringing campus IPR issues under
control. END COMMENT.
Young

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