Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The word they dare not speak..."ownership"

No sense of any real debate in Beijing this week of the fundamental issues holding back international participation in the media industry here. The China Daily, in all its Orwellian glory, runs a front page lead on magazine publishing replete with Sino-Newspeak.

Periodical market to open wider

...the headline screams. "Hooray" say the happy publishers. Then,

"Foreign publishers' jointly-funded projects in China enjoy the same legal protection and policy treatment as their Chinese counterparts," said Liu Binjie, minister of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

"I should hope so too. You're a member of the WTO" say the marginally less excited publishers.

More foreign participation is expected in periodical exports, copyright trade, copyright protection and magazine printing, services and technology based on the commitments the country made while joining the World Trade Organization, Liu said.

"Same old, same old" say the now somewhat disappointed publishers. "Copyright trade" is GAPP Sino-Newspeak for "you can't own your own titles in China. You have to license them to us".

The article then drifts off into some dull stats on the number of magazines in China and talks about how there are 2,200 foreign-invested printers in the country. As though publishers would be too excited about that when they continue to be generally obsessed with how to capture electronic revenues before the print ones dwindle too far.

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