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Copyright Group: Ukraine Tops Piracy Watch List

13 Feb, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has gone to the U.S. government with a list of 48 countries threatening the growth of copyright-based business in America, with the Ukraine topping the list of problematic regions.

The IIPA — which includes the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and five other associations comprising more than 3,200 companies — is recommending the U.S. Trade Representative suspend Ukraine’s eligibility to receive trade benefits.

“Problems in Ukraine include rampant online and hard-goods piracy, governmental decisions to act against the legitimate collecting society instead of against rogue societies, and the pervasive use of unlicensed software by businesses and government ministries,” the IIPA report reads.

The report says piracy in Ukraine has gotten progressively worse since 2011, with both free and pay-for-download piracy of video content widespread. The Ukraine is home to many of the world’s BitTorrent programs, and is a hot spot for unauthorized recording of theatrical films uploaded to the Internet. Ukraine’s markets and street vendors are notorious for selling pirated DVDs, the report reads.

While the Ukraine topped the IIPA’s list of places responsible for hurting American content owners, seven other countries were placed on its priority watch list: Argentina, Chile, China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia and Russia.

Another 25 countries were placed on a watch list for piracy activities: Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

Countries on the priority or watch lists are recommended “for denial of adequate and effective [intellectual property rights] protection or fair and equitable market access.”

“[The report] is an important trade tool to identify country practices that warrant attention for lax copyright protection or for maintaining onerous market barriers,” IIPA said in a statement. “[It] also fosters a sound approach to establish IP policy objectives for the year. Strong copyright protection and enforcement around the globe will buttress our nation’s creative industries, benefit creators and consumers worldwide, boost U.S. exports, create good high-wage jobs here at home, and contribute to U.S. economic growth.”

The IIPA estimates the U.S. core copyright industries account for roughly 6.4% of the overall American economy, with nearly 5.1 million workers and $134 billion in annual revenue from foreign sales and exports.

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