20101201 people buy pirated dvd disks at a book fair 18
People examine pirated DVD disks at a book fair on November 2, 2007 In Beijing, China. More efforts are needed to raise awareness of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection among the Chinese people, according to senior government officials. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: For years, U.S. companies have complained the Chinese government looks the other way when vendors pirate American goods. We're talking clothes and software, among other goods. This week, Beijing unveiled details about a new crackdown on intellectual property theft. And American lawyers say they believe the Chinese government may actually be serious this time.

Marketplace's Rob Schmitz reports.

ROB SCHMITZ: The image of bulldozers crushing pirated DVDs is a familiar one in China. State run news rolls these images whenever China's government takes heat for condoning rampant piracy. We're seeing these images again this week, but there's something new this time, says intellectual property lawyer, Douglas Clark.

DOUGLAS CLARK: In the past you take the case to the police and they're very busy or unless it's a perfect case they're not interested. This time around they're actually specifically asking for cases to be brought to them and they're picking to follow up.

Why the sudden concern? Bejign is spending billions on another campaign to spur Chinese tech companies to innovate.

CLARK: I'm sure the authorities have been getting the message back from Chinese companies saying, "If you want us to innovate you've got to protect our IP rights.

Street vendors aren't shaking in their fake Gucci boots yet. As of today they were still selling all four seasons of Mad Men on DVD for less than $10.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

Follow Rob Schmitz at @rob_schmitz