War on intellectual property theft in China best fought at local level, suggests new book

Spurred by concerns over China’s booming economy, the Bush administation plans to crank-up pressure on Chinese authorities to curtail the rampant theft of intellectual property — the black market in pirated films, software and equipment that costs American companies billions in lost sales. While anti-piracy rhetoric plays well in Washington, a new book on the “Politics of Piracy” in China suggests that external diplomatic pressure will have little effect on China’s ability to enforce international norms on copyrights, trademarks and patents. “The key to gaining enforcement of those laws lies at the local level,” says the book’s author, WUSTL China specialist Andrew Mertha.