Notorious Markets List focuses anti-piracy fight

US Trade Representative Michael Froman has revealed the findings of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets for 2014, which highlights certain physical and online markets around the world that are reported to engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting that harms American businesses and undermines our workers. The publication of the Notorious Markets report helps the US and foreign governments to prioritise intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement that protects job-supporting innovation and creativity in the US and around the world.

Ambassador Froman said: “American innovation fuels our economy. Intellectual property protects the contributions and livelihoods of the 40 million Americans whose jobs are supported by intellectual property-intensive and associated industries. The theft we’re shining a light on today is detrimental not only to creators and inventors, but also to consumers, who may be deceived and even endangered by Notorious Markets engaging in counterfeiting and piracy. Our commitment to underscore the protection of intellectual property rights has produced real results, and today’s action is another important part of that effort.”

The Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets identifies particularly infamous markets, and does not constitute an exhaustive list of all markets reported to deal in pirated or counterfeit goods around the world. Nor does it reflect the US Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned; such analysis is contained in the annual Special 301 Report issued at the end of April. However, the United States urges the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal actions where appropriate.

Deputy US Trade Representative Robert Holleyman pointed to early success and remaining work to combat piracy and counterfeiting. “The results from the past Notorious Markets report are very encouraging. In a short time we have seen a real effort by private and public entities to take action against serious offenders and we have seen businesses that resisted change for years turn the corner toward legitimate commerce. The success of our campaign to shine a light on thieves as well as on misguided sites has been exciting to see. Sites that want to be taken seriously reform and those that don’t are being shuttered.

The Notorious Markets List is helping shift the rewards of e-commerce away from illicit trade and back to the entrepreneurs, artists, and legitimate businesses that provide the quality goods and services that consumers want. There is much more work to do, and IPR counterfeiting and piracy remains a very real and present threat, but we have found a helpful tool to shine a spotlight on efforts to combat this illicit activity,” he stated.

USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006. In 2010, USTR announced that it would begin to publish the Notorious Markets List separately from the Special 301 Report to increase public awareness and guide related trade and other enforcement actions. USTR published the first stand-alone Notorious Markets List in February 2011 as an ‘Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets’, and has published a list for every year since.

Senator Chris Dodd, MPAA Chairman and CEO, responding to the report, noted that the film and television industry contributes to the US economy enormously, exporting six times what it imports and supporting close to 2 million American jobs. “This commerce is founded on the protection of IP rights, which encourages both artistic creativity and the continued growth of the already more than 400 legitimate digital distribution services worldwide,” he advised.

“However, the infringing marketplaces listed in the USTR report – many of which exist online – undermine this framework that benefits both content creators and consumers. These notorious markets enable the theft of content on a massive scale, diminishing US competitiveness, discouraging reinvestment from creators, and ultimately harming the consumer experience. We’d like to thank the USTR for publishing this important report that highlights the challenges content creators face, and we remain committed to working with all members of the online ecosystem to encourage conditions that enable the continued growth of legitimate marketplaces,” he confirmed.

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