Nintendo applauds growing economic tension between US and China

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At the behest of several companies, the United States has turned the heat up on China over their less-than-stellar compliance to squash the piracy that comes and goes through their borders. The list of angry US copyright holders flailing their arms and crying includes the MPAA and — here’s where the gaming part enters into it — Nintendo. The US filed two new complaints at the WTO yesterday, turning an already shaky economic relationship with China into something a lot shakier. Nintendo, on the other hand, is gettin’ all Tiger Beat over the move, although I guess you can’t blame ’em — some wacky crap comes by way of China, land of counterfeit games and oddball system clones.

In a statement issued today by Nintendo of America, the company announced “its strong support for the US Trade Representative” over recent developments at the WTO. The press release goes on to detail Nintendo’s continued commitment to snuffing out global piracy:

Each year Nintendo participates in the Special 301 process — the annual process by which the U.S. Trade Representative solicits views from the industry and makes judgments about the adequacy of intellectual property laws and enforcement in foreign countries. This year, Nintendo provided evidence to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding piracy in China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay. The piracy not only affects Nintendo, but also more than 100 other companies who independently create, license, market and sell Nintendo products. In 2006, the estimated loss due to piracy was $762 million.

Numbers like that would set anybody off. While I don’t exactly endorse the cheerings-on of a move that could make things really rocky for the US in the months ahead, I guess I’d be pissed too if I saw cheap knockoffs of my console in every dirt mall in every country everywhere.

Hit the jump for the full press release.

Nintendo Applauds U.S. Government’s Strong Position Against Piracy in China

Nintendo Urges: ‘Progress Must Be Made’

REDMOND, Wash., April 10 /PRNewswire/ — Nintendo of America Inc. today announced its strong support of the U.S. Trade Representative seeking formal consultations with China regarding its failure to meet World Trade Organization obligations concerning intellectual property protection and enforcement in China.  As part of its uncompromising campaign against international piracy, Nintendo continues to be an outspoken supporter of the U.S. government, given that more than 7.7 million counterfeit video game products from more than 300 Chinese factories and retailers have been seized during the past four years.

Despite aggressive efforts for the past decade, China has built itself to be the leading production site and exporter for counterfeit Nintendo video game products, and has the largest domestic consumption.  Despite the millions of counterfeit Nintendo products seized from retailers and manufacturing
plants in China through the years, there has only been one criminal prosecution.  Numerous factories, where tens of thousands of counterfeit Nintendo products were seized, escaped with only trivial fines or no penalty at all.  And often these production sites continue to operate after products are seized.  In order to avoid punishment, many counterfeiters are sophisticated and keep stock levels below the criminal thresholds and avoid keeping sales records.   

Each year Nintendo participates in the Special 301 process — the annual process by which the U.S. Trade Representative solicits views from the industry and makes judgments about the adequacy of intellectual property laws and enforcement in foreign countries.  This year, Nintendo provided evidence to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding piracy in China, Hong Kong, Brazil,
Mexico and Paraguay.  The piracy not only affects Nintendo, but also more than 100 other companies who independently create, license, market and sell Nintendo products.  In 2006, the estimated loss due to piracy was $762 million.

“Nintendo will continue to work with the U.S. government while
aggressively pursuing counterfeit Nintendo products in China,” says Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo of America’s senior director of anti-piracy.  “We’re pleased the U.S. government is pushing China to comply with its trade commitments in an effort to protect the lifeblood of the copyright and trademark industries.”


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