‘Tiny’ Film Could Transform Chinese IPRs

By Ashley Mergen

While government officials from the U.S. and China were hammering out policy changes in conference rooms last week, Chinese audiences gathered in movie theaters by the droves, inadvertently affecting a change of their own.

It’s hard to believe that the recent blockbuster film causing such a hubbub isn’t about political realities or social inequities. While Tiny Times is instead a “coming-of-age” flick reflecting the lavish lifestyles and romances of its four female protagonists, it is also providing a real-life example of the promise of homegrown creative industries, as Forbes contributor Russell Flannery notes:

The rise of influential domestic businesses interested in protecting their own intellectual property in China has brought change, as have rising incomes and expanding digital and wireless distribution. One industry where that’s readily apparent and fortunes are being made is entertainment.

Though China as a whole remains a notorious market for movie and music piracy, especially of foreign brands, the success of Tiny Times (and its forthcoming release in the U.S.) could provide a microcosm for greater change and respect for intellectual property rights. As domestic entrepreneurs advance from a “replication” mindset—which has pretty much defined the Chinese economy over the last few decades—to that of original creation and true innovation, the value of intellectual property rights coalesce as they experience the trials and tribulations of IP theft.

But make no mistake; the need for IP protection to support creative industries isn’t just limited to China. Domestic innovative and creative industries of all kinds and all stages of development are asking their governments to do more on IP protection. Whether it’s artists in Fiji, filmmakers in Nigeria, or consumers in Pakistan, ensuring IP rights are safeguarded and free from abuse by criminal counterfeiters and pirates is a priority across-the-board.

The need for IP protections from within can be complimented and even boosted if we approach trade relationships with the goal of securing comprehensive and meaningful protection and enforcement of IP rights. That way, we can make sure movie theatres are filled and conference rooms go empty.

Subscribe for updates from GIPC