Canada, China, Mexico top list

Canada, China, Mexico, Russia and Spain have been named the “top-priority countries” with inadequate intellectual property enforcement by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who co-chair the Intl. Anti-Piracy Caucus, as well as Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

They were joined Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill by Recording Industry Assn. of America chairman-CEO Mitch Bainwol at a news conference designed to underscore the proliferation of illegal commerce of copyrighted works, which they said has displaced thousands of jobs and undercut the ability of legit services to compete in the global marketplace.

Also as part of the proceedings, six illegal websites used for the illegal exchange of movies, music and other copyrighted works were identified, including Baidu (China), IsoHunt (Canada), mp3­fiesta (Ukraine), RapidShare (Germany), RMX4U.com (Luxembourg) and the Pirate Bay (Sweden).

One study commissioned by the Intl. Intellectual Property Alliance concluded that more than 11 million workers are employed by copyright-related industries in the U.S.

“The release of this report casts a damning spotlight once again on several nations with lax copyright protections and websites that brazenly traffic in copyright theft,” said Bainwol. “I’m particularly struck by the IAPC decision to identify significant global websites that facilitate massive theft — theft that destroys jobs and cuts short the dreams of creators who find it more difficult to attract the capital they need to build their careers.”

Bainwol said a federal judge’s recent copyright-infringement ruling against file-sharing network LimeWire is an encouraging sign that “those who set up elegant schemes to profit from theft will be stopped” but said that “much work needs to be done to achieve a fully accountable Internet space.”

The brazenness of such sites as Baidu might best illustrate Bainwol’s point. The Chinese company is publicly traded, while various estimates suggest Baidu is responsible for distributing about 50% of unauthorized online music content in China. Also, Pirate Bay, despite wearing its intent on its sleeve, remains operational despite criminal judgment against it in Sweden.

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