The Motion Picture Association (MPA) has signed an agreementwith two Chinese government agencies to co-operate in the fight against China'srampant piracy.

China'sMinistry of Culture (MoC) and the State Administration of Radio, Film andTelevision (SARFT) both co-signed a memorandum which aims to help Chineseenforcement agencies to identify pirated movie products.

Under the terms of the agreement, the MPA will submit a listto the MoC and SARFT every three months of films that its member companies planto release in China.

"All products that are available in the marketplace prior tothe legitimate home video release will be deemed illegal and forfeited," theMPA said in a statement. "And when a criminal copyright infringement offencehas been committed, the case will be prosecuted."

Pirated versions of both foreign and Chinese films are oftenwidely available in China on DVD or VCD even before their China theatricalrelease.

The three parties also agreed to hold a quarterly review todetermine the effectiveness of the agreement.

"We are hopeful this memorandum will benefit all filmproducers and distributors and not just MPA member companies," said MPA seniorvice president and Asia Pacific director Mike Ellis. "Piracy is a scourge thatis badly harming the Chinese film industry as well as foreign producers anddistributors."

In the run-up to the Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade(JCCT) talks in Beijing last week, the MoC posted a statement on its web-sitespecifying titles that enforcement agencies should prioritise. A decree wasalso sent to various government organisations including the Ministry of PublicSecurity which oversees China's police.