Equality for foreign periodicals, but there's a GAPP

Liu Binjie, the man from G.A.P.P.
As mentioned earlier on Danwei, the International Federation for Periodical Press (FIPP) just concluded its 36th World Magazine Conference in Beijing. At the conference, GAPP official Liu Binjie promised foreign periodicals that China will comply with its WTO accession terms by "going a step further" to open China's periodical market and welcome foreigners to participate. Mr. Liu additionally promised that, with respect to lawful professional work, activities and joint-venture projects, foreign periodicals in China will receive the same legal protection and enjoy equal policy treatment as their Chinese counterparts.

GAPP's statement is a more positive development than, say, the inverse, but more positive still would be the actual opening of China's periodical market. Of course, genuine parity with Chinese periodicals might simply trap foreign periodicals in the regulatory maze that Chinese periodicals have to navigate. Despite Mr. Liu's proclamation that China's periodicals have already "merged into the wave of global periodical publication," the world-wide trend is against GAPP-style content and market-access regulations and the attendant crackdowns.

The fact remains that, for foreign periodicals, between the potential of China's market and any hope of realizing it is a serious gap.

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There was also a gap of just one hour, between the time an IP lawyer was due to hear the verdict from the Beijing Court of Final Appeal, in favour of Mark Kitto and his company, which would have returned to them their rights to the trademark 'that's' for magazines in China, and the phone call from the court to that lawyer, who was on his way to the courtroom to collect the verdict, telling him that the decision, which had been made, was now postponed indefinitely.

There was then a gap of several months from that phone call to the time that an approach was made by a senior government media official offering to make an out of court settlement for the infringement (i.e. theft) of the said trademark.

There is currently a gap, amounting to several millions, in whichever currency you choose, between that offer, and the amount that the trademark and compensation for its infringement is worth.

It would seem there is a GAPPing hole in the legal protection for 'foreign (created) periodicals', at least in this case.

Mark Kitto, don't give an inch!

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