back to article China tells America, with a straight face, it will absolutely crack down on hacking and copyright, tech blueprint theft

America and China have struck a deal that may signal the beginning of the end in their ongoing trade war. The White House on Wednesday announced the two sides have inked a "phase one" agreement [PDF] that will include several changes affecting technology companies on both sides. Among the more noteworthy portions of the deal …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Dealmaster

    Trump will send all of America's trade secrets to the Chinese government so they can keep their eye out for any unauthorized uses. There was a handshake so it's an honest deal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dealmaster

      Don't forget to count your fingers after shaking his hand.

      1. Oliver Mayes

        Re: Dealmaster

        There's no point in him stealing any, they wouldn't fit his tiny hands anyway.

        1. spold Silver badge

          Re: Dealmaster

          ...probably thought IP was an advert for a Russian hooker

    2. HammerOn1024

      Re: Dealmaster

      Well gosh, Trump is the FIRST president in 40 years to call China on the carpet for the IP thefts. And you're whining?

      Grow up and smell your own hypocrisy. He is not an ideal president, but at least he cares about IP far more than any other president in the last 40 years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dealmaster

        US presidents have repeatedly called out China on IP issues. This is not new. Just because Trump says so does it make it true. As a matter of fact, if Trump says so it's more likely to be a lie and distortion.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Dealmaster

        Every president in 40 years has had that discussion. Trump got lucky in the timing.

        Casting back across America's history, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the USA was a hotbed of IP theft of every kind. It stole designs and machinery, art and prose - mostly from Europe and the UK, but later also from Japan and yes, even China.

        In the mid-20th century, the USA suddenly realised that it now had quite a few artists, creatives, engineers and designers who were doing original work of their own. And at that precise moment, it had an abrupt change of heart about "IP" in general and started its movement toward its present position as the number one global champion of it.

        That's the position China is at today. Across the board, Chinese designers have reached the point where they don't need to rip off "the west" any longer. Sure, in some areas they still lag - but in others they're our equals, and in some they've actually taken the lead. Suddenly, "IP" looks less like a restriction and more like an opportunity. And yes, you can cavil about how they got to that point, but the awkward truth is that it's the same way every other country got there.

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: Dealmaster

          "Trump got lucky in the timing"

          Indeed. Nothing whatsoever to do with his trade war on them...

        2. Robert 22

          Re: Dealmaster

          In my professional career, I've observed that the businesses (including some very well known North American firms) who make the biggest deal about their valuable intellectual property have often done little more than take some well known existing idea and add some trivial embellishments.

          I would suggest that the US patent system has serious problems of its own - a not uncommon business strategy is to patent a vague idea and then simply lie in wait for a real innovator to come up with a practical implementation that has even the slightest resemblance to the patent.

          If you examine the history of the computer industry, you will find that much of the actual progress has been the result of starting with the ideas of others and building on them. Gary Kildall borrowed ideas from the DEC TOPS-10 operating system to write CP/M and in turn DOS borrowed ideas from CP/M. I suspect that if today's legal environment existed over the last 50 years, we would still be waiting for lawsuits involving GUI patents to be resolved.

      3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Dealmaster

        Well gosh, Trump is the FIRST president in 40 years to call China on the carpet for the IP thefts. And you're whining?

        What is it with Trump supporters? They live in an alternative universe to the rest of us! It may have taken me me as long as ten seconds to find this account of a previous agreement, from September 2015.

        "The U.S. and China have agreed that neither government would support or conduct cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a joint media conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday."*

        *https://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/25/us-china-agree-to-not-conduct-cybertheft-of-intellectual-property-white-house.html

      4. Long John Silver
        Pirate

        Re: Dealmaster

        "IP thefts"? How can one steal that which is intangible and in its 'taking' doesn't deprive its supposed 'owner' of anything?

        This sloppy thinking is encouraged by IP rentiers to bolster the false analogy between IP and physical property. Theft has connotations of 'badness' which they hope to carry forward. Yet, in what manner does stealing a chocolate bar from a shop equate to obtaining an 'illicit' copy of a digital sequence?

        The only thing holders of 'rights' are deprived of by 'infringement' is capacity effortlessly to draw income (i.e. rent) almost in perpetuity. The age of the digital has exposed rapacious greed backed by legalised monopoly distribution powers. The 'right' to rental from that which inherently lacks scarcity hardly ranks with the conviction behind the 'Ten Commandments' injunction against theft.

        Oddly, the notion of copyright sits uneasily with the now mainstream (US/UK) mantra concerning the wonders of economic neo-liberalism. Supposedly free-markets are rendered meaningless when monopoly/monopsony rears. Indeed, the USA has tough antitrust laws and until recently applied them rigorously, for only thus is market-capitalism, as understood by Adam Smith and by Karl Marx, credible. Monopoly over so-called IP has retained charmed existence over the last couple of centuries. That is an inconsistency macho capitalism in the form of neo-liberalism must not tolerate.

        Alternative business methods for drawing income from creative activity exist. With respect to digitally encoded culture the Internet offers opportunity for all to seek voluntary support (patronage, crowd-funding, etc.) from would-be admirers. Impressive works build reputation. Reputation enhances credibility of the next work being desirable. Support is offered for the making of works rather than as payment for extant works. A simple pre-copyright mode of business. Of course this cuts out the behemoth rentiers. Their squealing is reaching a crescendo.

  2. Magani
    Holmes

    Raise your right hand and....

    Among the more noteworthy portions of the deal is a pinky-swear promise by Beijing to step up protections for intellectual property and enforce copyright in the Middle Kingdom.

    I see April 1st is early this year.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Raise your right hand and....

      Maybe China is now reaching the same point the US did about 1.5 centuries ago, where starting to protect their own IP is strategically more important than stealing other countries IP.

      For a long time, the USA was an international pariah for stealing IP from Europe, then it started innovating enough itself that suddenly protecting its IP was more important than stealing other people's IP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Raise your right hand and....

        And nowadays it's blossomed into a means to keep rich companies rich and act as a smoke screen for protectionism.......

      2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

        Re: Raise your right hand and....

        > For a long time, the USA was an international pariah for stealing IP from Europe,

        Like this: - http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics/mikado.html

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    China will honor patents, copyrights, etc.....

    I believe this just like I believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and honest politicians.

    1. georgezilla

      Re: China will honor patents, copyrights, etc.....

      See the problem here is .......

      That your effing crazy Uncle Larry actually does.

      Because Hair Fooler said so.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: China will honor patents, copyrights, etc.....

      honest politicians - that's a typo, is should have been Ethnos politicians.

      "In Ethnos, players call upon the support of giants, merfolk, halflings, minotaurs, and other fantasy tribes to help them gain control of the land"

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Disney must be all excited right now

    It is probably already hiring an entire new law department to stomp all over the Middle Kingdom. I wonder how China will handle copyright claims (if it will) ? I mean, how long is copyright in China ? If it's e.g. five years, then they could logically oppose any legal action concerning something made 20 years ago and nobody could do anything about it, while validly claiming to respect copyright.

    Did you feel that ? I think Mickey Mouse just fainted.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Disney must be all excited right now

      Remember kids, if you ever make a sex tape, play Disney music in the background.

      That way if it ever leaks, Disney's lawyers will get it taken down in minutes.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Disney must be all excited right now

        There is no way I could perform if the soundtrack from Frozen was playing in the background.

        1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

          I could perform

          Prerecord the audio and with a confident mind you can perform and edit the video in afterwards.

        2. a pressbutton

          Re: Disney must be all excited right now

          You are speaking words of wisdom

          but it could be worse

          let it be, let it be.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    crack down on counterfeiting and IP theft

    in plain English: we PROMISE we'll do much better at not being caught!

    p.s. let's be honest, this is not a Chinese things, people (read: businesses) steal, or "borrow" other people's ideas and inventions everywhere. Sometimes (v. rarely) they get caught. It's a bad, BAD thing. As long as it happens to us, i.e. when "they" steal from us, or when we are caught stealing from others.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: crack down on counterfeiting and IP theft

      i don't think that's the same thing as the factory you sent your designs to ripping off the product using the same tooling during the night shift

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: crack down on counterfeiting and IP theft

        However...

        I wonder how many Americans are buying the cheap rip-offs, knowing full well what they are - or just not caring.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: crack down on counterfeiting and IP theft

          Isn't that the duty of all true capitalists?

        2. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: crack down on counterfeiting and IP theft

          "I wonder how many Americans are buying the cheap rip-offs, knowing full well what they are - or just not caring."

          I once bought something from eBay, and paid about the correct price for it. (I only bought it from there because I couldn't find it anywhere else.) When it arrived it was the Chinese kock-off version. I complained to the seller that having paid the correct price, I should get the real thing and not some knock off. He then said in an actual eBay message that it's exactly the same as the real thing, just not made by them. I pointed out that he has just admitted to knowingly selling counterfeit goods, and he gave me half my money back, closed his account, and I haven't seen him on there since.

          So in reality, he just opened up a new storefront doing exactly the same thing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: crack down on counterfeiting and IP theft

        You sent the designs there. Because you shut your own factory in the US down. Because you decided that the Chinese were cheaper, and you could sell the same thing for the same money but make bigger profits. You might even have sold them the tools to do it, at a knock-down price, so you could flatten your old factory and build apartment blocks for another windfall.

        Then you found out why they appeared cheaper. Then it started to become apparent what the true cost of this type of globalization was. Then you needed a scapegoat, and began pointing and shouting "Over there! Over there! They are the ones at fault!"

  6. el kabong
    Joke

    Well, it was about time, glad to know that from now on the chinese will behave nicely and fairly

    Someone would have to make them realize how wrong they were, in my opinion this should have happened sooner.

    Trump scores again, takes a victory lap. No, two victory laps.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Well, it was about time, glad to know that from now on the chinese will behave nicely and fairly

      "I took two victory laps... three, everyone says three. And did you see the size of my crowds? I got the biggest crowds, the best crowds. They voted on who had the best crowd, Donald J Trump or Abe Lincoln. And it was Trump. Better than Lincoln. Lincoln didn't have to put so much water in the washing machines... the woman, Martha, that is. But you knew that."

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Well, it was about time, glad to know that from now on the chinese will behave nicely and fairly

        That isn't a genuine Trump quotation. It's far too structured and grammatically correct.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Well, it was about time, glad to know that from now on the chinese will behave nicely and fairly

          You've caught me fair an' square, guv'nor.

          I want to know which Trump-worshiper it is who's handing out the downvotes today.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Well, it was about time, glad to know that from now on the chinese will behave nicely and fairly

            Well, I could be classed as a "worshiper" as I don't have TDS. But I give an upvote: that was def worth an upvote.

  7. John Savard Silver badge

    The Future of the Deal

    While the title of this article is very true, it shouild not be concluded from this trade deal that Trump is a fool.

    How can anything be negotiated between the U.S. and China if we automatically assume China won't respect the terms of the agreement?

    So while there is good reason not to expect China to reform the practices cited, there is no other way but to begin with optimism. Then, a month or two down the road, when there is some evidence that things are the same as always, there can be a new trade war, this time with real demands for China to take concrete steps even before talks begin.

    So instead of thinking of this agreement as giving China a free pass, think of it as the first salvo in Trade War Part II.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: The Future of the Deal

      it shouild not be concluded from this trade deal that Trump is a fool.

      I'm trying to think who would benefit from a long, drawn-out trade war, given Trump famously stated (to mockery at the time) that trade wars are easy and quick to win. I suppose some of his most gullible followers might believe that's a quote manufactured by the deep-state LIEberal elite MSM news, but not enough of them to get him re-elected.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Future of the Deal

        Your kids benefit from a Trade War by selling stocks a day before the Trade War is announced and then buying them back a day before the end of the Trade War is announced.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: The Future of the Deal

        I suppose some of his most gullible followers might believe that's a quote manufactured by the deep-state LIEberal elite MSM news, but not enough of them to get him re-elected.

        As far as I can tell, for the vast majority of his supporters, it doesn't matter what he may have said. Positions don't matter; policies don't matter; performance doesn't matter.

        I've read numerous interviews with Trump supporters over the past few months. These are middle-class and upper-middle-class people, likely voters, likely financial supporters. They're educated, articulate, not perceptibly stupid or ill-informed or insane. And what they say, consistently, is that they'll vote to re-elect the man. Sometimes they'll mention specific achievements (the tax-code changes he signed into law, the stock market, etc); Trump doesn't really deserve much credit for those, but they don't dwell on them anyway. They're excuses. Then they'll use descriptions like "the best president since Reagan" or in some cases "the best president ever".

        The real warrant to their arguments, readily apparent, is that they support Trump because he's their team and they want to win the game. US politicians have successfully pushed most of the electorate into treating politics as a sport, and most voters will put up with pretty much anything to support their team. People mocked (and continue to mock) Trump and his supporters since he first entered the 2016 race; and those supporters will be damned before they back down.

        And so will the rest of us.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    Yeah yeah.

    Well believe it when they stop ripping off Winnie the Pooh and using him to run the country.

  9. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Accusing someone is one thing. Proving it ... now that's going to be a tough sell.

  10. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    China has been ripping off everyone's IP (including their own) ... It's a national pastime

    The President Xi-run nation has long been accused of ripping off American everyone's technology, brands, and copyrights at a super-industrial scale

    There, FTFY.

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: China has been ripping off everyone's IP (including their own) ... It's a national pastime

      Yep, the EU's trade war with China was highly successful, too! Wait....

  11. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Easter Eggs

    Maybe it's time for companies to start planting (several) easter eggs into their codes.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump doesn't care if they do

    He told his supporters he was going to get a better deal, and now he told them he got a better deal. If China doesn't abide by the terms any news reports of that will be branded "fake news" by him and his supporters will believe them. And Fox News will report what he says as the truth, and ignore any inconvenient facts that might challenge it.

    It remains to be seen if a democracy can function when two sides become so split they can't agree on basic facts.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Chinese are master manipulators

    Trump's just a master baiter

  14. Perry the platypus

    What a load of racist clap trap... as I watch western companies take other western companies to court for up theft and patent infringement and as I watch western companies recruit bright students from China because they can’t get bright students at home and we still put this narrative out about Chinese in theft as if it’s any different to any other country !! China at this point is out innovating us...

  15. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Devil

    It is not surprising. Having built an effective manufacturing and invention base, China is taking a leaf out t=of the US playbook and protecting Ip - much as the US di 100 odd years ago.

  16. Kimo

    Check back in a year

    This is just a fig leaf deal so Trump can declare victory before the election. If this deal has teeth, I will be incredibly surprised. And I can see China buying a large quantity of farm goods in 2020 to push up Trump support ahead of the election so they don't have to deal with a grownup in the White House, but in the long term the amounts they have sorta promised to buy are unsustainable.

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