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Friday, April 16, 2010

(Insert double entendre here)

I'm too tired to think of a clever, yet risque lead-in to the following article that appeared in today's Japan Times ジャパンタイムズ, so I'll let "Taiwan providers irk porn makers" speak for itself:

"Eight Japanese pornographic film producers are demanding compensation from Taiwanese cable and telecom firms they claim are using their works without authorization, a lawyer representing the producers said Wednesday. The case may depend on whether Taiwanese authorities rule that adult films are creative works protected by copyright law. Chen Shih-ing said the Japanese producers are seeking royalties from Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. 中華電信, Taiwan Mobile Co. Ltd. and other unnamed Taiwanese telecom and cable TV providers to make up for an estimated 1 billion New Taiwan dollars ($30 million) in annual losses. He said the companies are allowing customers to download the films onto a variety of platforms, including mobile phones, without providing compensation in return. Speaking to reporters in T'aipei 台北, Chen said he was basing his case on a Taiwanese law assigning intellectual property rights to creative works. He said his clients will give Taiwanese companies one month to negotiate before they face legal action. Taiwan's Intellectual Property Office stated that the question of whether adult films are creative works needed to be decided on a case-by-base basis."

The article highlights a couple of points about life here in Formosa. One is that there is a huge demand for, ahem, "adult entertainment". Virtually every neighborhood has its "special KTV" or "barbershop", which are code words for brothels, and AV stores are commonplace. The local industry, whether due to government restrictions or traditional conservative morality, is unable to satisfy this demand (a glance at any of the cheapo late-night T & A shows on cable shows how hilariously amateurish the industry is in Taiwan), and so the market turns to the Japanese. Made-in-Japan DVD's are widely available, and Japanese porn stars have a devoted following among Taiwanese おたく.

As the JT story also indicates, however, the interest in Japanese erotica cums up (there's one I was able to "slip in"!) against the reluctance of many Taiwanese consumers to pay for copyrighted material. I know of few people here who buy CD's or rent DVD's from stores - why should they when such entertainment can be easily downloaded for free from the Internet? The Taiwanese economy has come far in the last couple of decades, but observance of intellectual property rights in some respects isn't much better than what you would find in a typical Third World economy.

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