"Notorious Markets" Infringe on Property Rights
Washington - More than 30 marketplaces deal in goods and services that infringe on intellectual property rights (IPR) and help sustain global piracy and counterfeiting, according to a list released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
This Notorious Markets List, although not exhaustive, identifies examples of both Internet and physical marketplaces that have been subject to enforcement actions because of counterfeiting and piracy, or that may merit further investigation for possible IPR infringements. The release of the list concludes a review process launched in September 2011.
"Piracy and counterfeiting continue to present a serious challenge to the innovation and creativity that is essential to supporting American jobs and creating economic growth around the world," said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in a December 20 USTR press release.
"The notorious markets highlighted in this review negatively impact legitimate businesses and industries of all sizes that rely on intellectual property to protect their goods and services," Kirk said. "We hope that this review will continue to yield the kind of concrete action from highlighted markets that led to the removal of several markets from the list this year."
The list does not reflect violations of law or analyze the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the countries listed. Such analysis can be found in the annual "Special 301" Report, mandated by U.S. trade law and issued at the end of April, in which the USTR reviews the global state of IPR protection and enforcement.
However, the United States does urge the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting in the markets on the list, and those like them, and to use the information contained in the list to take legal action where appropriate.
LIST HIGHLIGHTS POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS
The list also highlights positive developments since the previous Notorious Markets List was issued in February 2011. For example, the USTR applauds the Chinese website Baidu, one of the world's most visited sites, for entering into a licensing agreement with U.S. and other rights holders in the recording industry. Baidu was previously listed as an example of a site linking to infringing content.
The list also notes that Hong Kong customs officials took action to remove allegedly infringing goods from the Ladies Market, and that management at the Savelovskiy Market in Russia implemented a plan to stop the distribution of infringing goods.
Several markets were identified because they make pirated and counterfeit goods and services available. The Chinese website Taobao, for example, continues to offer a variety of infringing products to consumers and businesses, while at the same time continuing its significant efforts to address the problem.
The list also identifies specific activities such as blogs and online forums that offer links to infringing content online, and key physical markets such as personal computer malls in China.
The USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006 and began to publish the Notorious Markets List separately in February 2011 as an "Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets."
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)