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Feds List 'Notorious' Copyright Thieves

18 Dec, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Pirated DVDs from China

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has come out with its annual list of “notorious” Internet and physical markets worldwide that deal in pirated goods and counterfeiting.

The list includes the online cyberlocker and peer-to-peer file-sharing sites Xunlei (China), Baixe de Tudo (Sweden), Gougou (China), Rapidgator.net (Russia), Putlocker (United Kingdom) and Ex.ua (Ukraine), as well as sites that allegedly deal in counterfeit goods, including China-based Paipai.

The BitTorrent indexing sites ThePirateBay (Sweden) and IsoHunt (Canada) also made the list. 

Several physical markets, some dealing in counterfeit DVDs, also made the list, including the Bahia Market in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Buynow PC Malls chain in China, the entire city of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, and the Harco Glodok market in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“Trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy on a commercial scale continue to thrive around the world, in part, because of the presence of marketplaces that deal in goods and services that infringe intellectual property rights,” the USTR said in a statement. “These are marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement actions or that may merit further investigation for possible IPR infringements.”

Michael O’Leary, senior EVP for global policy and external affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said the piracy sites and markets seriously damage the American film industry.

“The MPAA supports the USTR’s efforts to identify notorious overseas markets and greatly appreciates its interest in protecting the millions of hard-working Americans and the tens of thousands of businesses that rely on a healthy motion picture and television industry for their livelihoods,” he said. “Identifying notorious overseas markets is important for fostering legitimate commerce, improving legitimate markets’ viability and competitiveness, and boosting our country’s overall economic strength.”

Inclusion on the annual list, which the U.S. government has released since 2006, apparently has some teeth, with several markets — some physical, some digital — removed in the past year, thanks to domestic and foreign government action.

The Chinese website Taobao had been included on several previous “notorious” lists for the widespread availability of counterfeit and pirated goods in its electronics store, but has been removed after undertaking “notable efforts over the past year to work with rights holders directly or through their industry associations to clean up its site.” Another Chinese site, Sogou, was removed from the list for similar reasons.

The cyberlocker site MegaUpload was removed after the Department of Justice filed criminal copyright charges against its owners earlier this year, effectively shutting it down.

The Mexican and Canadian governments shut down several piracy websites, while the Quiapo Shopping District in the Philippines has reduced the amount of counterfeit and pirated goods available for sale.

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