Posts tagged ‘Taiwan’

One Wore Blue, One Wore Grey -- Chinese Version

A large part of the mythology of the American Civil War is the stories of brothers who fought on opposite sides of the way.   They are a favorite part of many Civil War novels (including that series which I can't remember the name of that had a Patrick Swayze mini-series).

I am sure similar stories are part of many civil war traditions in many countries, but one of the more amazing comes from China in the 20th century.  And it involved sisters, not brothers.

Soong Ching-Ling was one of three sisters born in the Shanghai area in the late 19th century and sent by their father to America for school.  She would marry her father's friend Sun Yat-Sen (one of several wives -- Sun was only Westernized so far).  When Sun died, the left-right coalition he held together among the Chinese revolutionary forces disintegrated, with Soong Ching-Ling ending on the communist side.  She eventually rose to be vice-president of the PRC.

Her sister Soong Mei-Ling would marry Sun Yat-Sen's protege Chiang Kai-Shek, who was to lead China in the 30's and early 40's and eventually dual unsuccessfully with the communists after the war for control of China.  He would then rule the Chinese nationalist forces in Taiwan for most of the rest of his life.

Postscript:  I see there is a Hong Kong movie with a pretty nice cast on the sisters, might have to watch it.

Irony Alert

Via Overlawyered, from here

Taiwan's Intellectual Property Office said it had disqualified Wu Chih-wei and asked him to return the medal and prize money he got for winning the "Protect Copyright" poster-design contest, after Wu admitted he had copied the design he submitted.

Using Copyright Law to Block Price Arbitrage

Movie producers sell DVDs cheaper in, say, Taiwan than they do in the US.  This is not an unheard of economic phenomenon -- it happens in every commodity and product.  The reason we don't notice these price differences too much is that traders and arbitragers and shipping companies will target the largest price differentials and take advantage of them by buying and shifting products around until the price differential is less than the transportation and transaction costs.  Basic economics.

However, despite a number of structural advantages that already serve to reduce this cross-flow (e.g. different languages), the media companies are trying to stretch copyright law far beyond what CopyOwner says is legally defensible:

Copyright owners (including the owners of the "works" embodied in
the copyrighted labels on common non-copyrighted goods) like to
discriminate in pricing by creating artificial markets so that
discounts in one market won't be resold at a lower price in over-priced
markets. The thinking goes, "Why let U.S. consumers get the benefit of
prices that are affordable to people in developing countries when we
know we can get more out of the U.S. consumer's pocket?"

"first sale doctrine," now codified as Section 109 of the Copyright
Act, makes clear that the copyright owner's right of distribution is
subject to the copy owner's right to sell it to anyone, anywhere, at
any price. And that's great policy. Entrepreneurs who see too big a gap
between the prices charged U.S. consumers and the prices charged
consumers elsewhere for identical copies can buy the cheaper product
and sell it at a profit, while still giving the U.S. consumer a better

But that's not why I nearly fell out of my chair. I
was used to these anti-competitive price discriminators ranting about
perfectly lawful gray market goods. What this story does is label these
perfectly legal importers as pirates. That's right. Despite quoting the
Supreme Court in Quality King Distributors v. L'anza Research International,
that "once the copyright owner places a copyrighted item in the stream
of commerce by selling it, he has exhausted his exclusive statutory
right to control its distribution," a ruling that suggests that the
evildoers are those who try to circumvent the law by preventing gray
market imports, they go on to call the importers "pirates"

Speaking of Technocrats...

Apparently leading technocrat and Mussolini-style-economic-dictator Robert Reich is at it again, arguing the path to freedom requires more government coercion.  Ronald Bailey reminds us that Reich was the one who advocated the US adopt Japanese MITI-style economic management, just before the American economy took off for 25 years and Japan's spiraled into stagnation.  Now, he is arguing that capitalism is the enemy of democracy:

As Freedom House points out the number of countries that qualify as free rose from just 44 in 1972 to 89 in 2005,
even as capitalism expanded around the globe. It has been hypothesized
that as incomes increase in a country (rise of a middle class), the
demand for democratic governance becomes irresistible. This seems to
have been the pattern in South Korea, Chile, and Taiwan. Will the same
thing happen in China? As a negative leading indicator---whatever Reich
predicts, the opposite occurs-don't be surprised if China becomes a
democracy in the next decade.