Industry groups for producers of copyright material, including the BSA (Business Software Alliance) and the MPA (Motion Picture Association), have signed an agreement with the NCAC (National Copyright Administration of China) for protection against internet piracy in China.

TPA (The Publishers Association) of the UK and The AAP (Association of American Publishers) also signed the memorandum, under which the industry groups will provide information about legal, authorised products distributed by their member companies in China. This will allow the NCAC to distinguish between legal and pirated copies available online. Instances of internet piracy will then be referred to the NCAC, which will inform the proper legal authorities, the MPA said.

The BSA estimates that total losses to pirated software in China in 2005 were $3.9bn, and that 86 percent of all software used in China that year was pirated. The MPA estimates that the piracy rate for its members' products was 93 percent. The numbers are based on estimated sales if pirated or unauthorised products were not available.

BSA members include technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Dell. The MPA is comprised of Hollywood's largest film studios, such as Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and is the international arm of the Motion Picture Association of America.