Internet Piracy

A congressional caucus has named China, Russia, India and Switzerland as four countries on its piracy “watch list,” singled out as countries where there are high levels of copyright infringement and a lack of legal protections.

The list was unveiled by the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in the House and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in the Senate. The caucus also cited Italy and the Philippines as two countries that have made progress in better protecting content.

Schiff said that the watch list was started “to alert those who are profiting by stealing the hard work of American creators and the countries helping them that we are paying attention and we expect our trading partners to protect intellectual property rights.”

Their report said that while there have been improvements in China, with the growth of a domestic creative sector, “the scale of piracy remains massive.” It called on China to “follow through on commitments it has previously made,” including expanding access to U.S. movies in the Chinese market.

Russia, the report said, has actually decreased enforcement actions, and the caucus singled out the vKontakte website as among those that “actively facilitate the theft of copyrighted materials.”

India was named because of a lack of a legal framework and enforcement, with a high level of camcording piracy, lack of a notice-and-takedown system to remove online pirated content and high levels of unlicensed software use.

Switzerland was cited for the delay in the government taking action to put in place new laws after a 2010 Federal Supreme Court ruling that “rendered it virtually impossible for rights holders to bring actions against large scale peer-to-peer infringers.”

The full report is here.

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