Canada, Mexico on piracy hotbed list

Congress aims at priority watch list

Mexico, India, Canada and Malaysia are hotbeds of piracy in addition to usual suspects China and Russia, a congressional body said Wednesday.

The bipartisan Intl. Anti-Piracy Caucus issued its priority watch list for this year, leading with repeat offenders China and Russia. “China remains awash in pirated versions of American copyrighted products and is a source of pirated product to markets around the world despite the commitments the Chinese authorities have made over the past 10 years to significantly reduce copyright piracy levels,” IAPC statement said.

“Russia has been on the U.S. government’s Priority Watch List for nine straight years,” statement continued. “During this time, the number of optical disc plants producing and exporting pirated material has grown exponentially — from two plants in 1996 to 47 plants as of January 2006.”

Mexico was listed because “there are currently over 50,000 street vendors offering pirated product” there. Canada has become a major supplier of bootleg DVDs made from illegally camcorded entertainment, IAPC said. India has “relatively good copyright law, (but) the U.S. economy in 2005 lost an estimated $433 million in revenue due to piracy in India.” And “both the licensing regime and enforcement apparatus are in need of further improvements” in Malaysia.

“I am encouraged by the enduring efforts of this caucus to protect U.S. intellectual property and creativity,” said MPAA topper Dan Glickman in a statement. “These efforts are essential to motivating governments to take action,” he added.

“During its first two years in existence, the caucus has been an active and effective voice,” said Recording Industry Assn. of America chairman Mitch Bainwol. “The efforts of these members reflect the importance that Congress places on ensuring that our trading partners live up to their international obligations in the protection of critical U.S. assets.”