There is and has always been a great deal of hoopla surrounding international copyright protection and piracy. DVDs, software, and music get people in bad moods no matter where you stand on the issue.
China is known for the knock-offs. DVDs of movies that haven’t even played a week in U.S. movie theaters. Adobe software that costs thousands sold on the streets of Hong Kong for five dollars.
Most American students studying in China relish in the fact that a night at the movies comes cheap (free if you watch the streaming versions online from tudou.com). What are you supposed to do? Most Chinese people can’t afford U.S. priced DVDs and software. But should we, as Americans, refuse to buy pirated goods? Or should we as poor students look at this as a way to not break the bank? Should we be stopping our Chinese roommates from buying? How are we affecting the lives of the artists, designers, etc. who’s work is their software, movie, music? Where is the boundary when there is no RIAA breathing down your neck (or at least trying to act like it)?
Photo of the day: Jackie Chan was enlisted for a series of posters put up in Beijing. This poster is one foot from the entrance to a DVD store which sells pirated DVDs. They are quite sneaky about it. The store looks perfectly normal with high prices and legit goods. But, if you ask to see the back room, they will move a bookcase (yes, the secret bookcase door right out of the movies) and a room full of the latest DVDs appears — 10 kuai a pop (expensive but most if not all movies have no issues and don’t appear to be filmed in the movie theater). When you pay, they give you a business card and tell you to come back… beats the street vendors with thin selection and non-reliable future service.