US Trade Representative Michael Froman has announced the findings of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets for 2015, which highlights specific physical and online markets around the world that are reported to be engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. This activity harms the American economy by undermining the innovation and intellectual property rights (IPR) of American businesses and their workers. The publication of the Notorious Markets List helps the US and foreign governments to prioritise IPR enforcement that protects job-supporting innovation and creativity in the US and around the world.
“Tens of millions of American jobs and several trillion dollars of our gross domestic product rely on American creative and innovative industries,” said Froman. “Our Notorious Markets List is a unique tool that highlights key examples of markets all over the world – increasingly digital markets – that are linked to significant infringement of American businesses’ intellectual property rights. The 2015 List has a special emphasis on emerging marketing and distribution tactics in Internet-based counterfeiting, which reportedly not only harms legitimate trade but poses risks to consumer health and safety.”
“This Notorious Markets List illustrates the seriousness of copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting in online marketplaces,” said Deputy US Trade Representative Robert Holleyman. “The 2015 report underscores the need for accountable governments everywhere to take on these forms of piracy and counterfeiting – including by using the numerous TPP standards that address piracy and counterfeiting as a benchmark.”
The US encourages all 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. Following the release of the 2014 List in March 2015, some market owners and operators have made notable efforts to address the widespread availability of pirated or counterfeit goods in their markets. The US commends these efforts, and urges all relevant markets and governments to build on this progress.
The 2015 Notorious Markets List takes a special focus on the distribution of counterfeit goods and pirated content online. The sale of counterfeit goods online is estimated to have grown by 15 per cent last year and online pirate sites were similarly noted with growing concern by copyright holders in the US.
USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006. In 2010, the Obama Administration announced that it would elevate the profile of the Notorious Markets List by publishing it 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.
According to MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd, the Report shines an essential light on the rampant nature of content theft, which diminishes the work of creators, harms consumers through the spread of malware, and undercuts the US’s ability to compete internationally. “In particular, as the film and television industry relies on robust copyright frameworks to create and distribute content around the globe, the report is a reminder that it’s important to include strong protections for intellectual property in trade agreements such as the TPP. We thank the USTR for leading this important exercise, and look forward to continuing our work with all members of the online ecosystem to find solutions that tackle content theft and promote creativity.”