Chinese Intellectual Property Protection

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Chinese Intellectual Property Protection

"The Master [Confucius] said: I transmit rather than create; I believe in and love the Ancients."

The Analects of Confucius, bk 7, ch I 1

As the globalization of the world progresses China, a country that values the past greatly, seeks to develop into a technologically driven country that can sit among developed nations.

I. Introduction

Globalization is an inevitable fact of the modern world. Unless the Chinese work hard to adjust to the changing conditions they will fall behind. By looking at the history of the Chinese we can come up with answers to the ethical questions of who is morally responsible for the problems with Chinese Intellectual Property Law. Although this will not give us the answers to problems China faces, it will give us answers to some moral questions.

II. A Bit of Chinese History on Intellectual Property

Before Significant Foreign Contact

The notions of a copyrights, trademarks, and patents came very late in China. Understanding what occurred during era of Imperial China (221 B.C. -A.D. 1911) can help us to figure exactly what kept the Chinese so far behind the western world in the intellectual property respect.1

During the age of Imperial China, most laws developed tended to be penal in nature and the central government lacked the civil laws that the west enjoyed.1 According to scholars, rather than implement these laws centrally, civil laws were "delegated" to village and clan elders.1 Thus, it was up to the family to dictate what was right and wrong at a civil level. It is important to note that although Chinese law did not have many governmental civil laws, it did however have the Ten Abominations (the most serious offenses) of which half involved actions concerning the family -- this shows that in some ways that there was some sort of delegated authority on civil law.1 The "Four Books" (which are part of the great Chinese Classics) were the guidelines that the elders used in matters of social situations.1

The first restrictions to printing came during the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279) and was greatly aimed at restricting reproduction of heterodox.
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