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USTR Announces Results of Special 301 Review of Notorious Markets
Washington, D.C. – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today spotlighted with concern more than 30 Internet and physical markets that exemplify key challenges in the global struggle against piracy and counterfeiting. Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, launched on October 1, 2010. The results identify examples of both Internet and physical marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement action connected with counterfeiting and piracy, or that may merit further investigation for possible Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringements.
“Piracy and counterfeiting undermine the innovation and creativity that is vital to our global competitiveness. These notorious markets not only hurt American workers and businesses, but are threats to entrepreneurs and industries around the world,” said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “The review we are announcing today shines a light on examples of many offending markets, and highlights an opportunity to work together with our trading partners to curb illicit trade and expand legitimate commerce in creative and innovative industries.”
The Notorious Markets review identifies markets that are particularly prominent examples of notorious markets in each category, and does not constitute an exhaustive list of all notorious markets around the world. Inclusion in the Notorious Markets List does not reflect a finding of a violation of law or the United States 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 in these and similar markets, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal actions where appropriate.
The markets listed include, for example, the website Baidu, which recently ranked as the number one most visited site in China, and among the top ten in the world. Baidu exemplifies the problem of online services engaged in “deep linking,” which provide links to online locations containing the allegedly infringing materials. The list also includes numerous examples of websites involved in BitTorrent tracking and indexing, which facilitate the high speed transfer of infringing materials between users, as well as Internet markets involved in specific activities such as piracy of sports telecasts, Smartphone software and physical products. Key physical markets listed include, for example, Beijing’s notorious Silk Market, as well as numerous other markets from a wide range of countries and regions.
USTR and other agencies of the U.S. government are actively engaged with U.S. trading partners to seek appropriate action against counterfeiting and piracy, including these and other markets identified in this report. For example, on February 14, USTR announced an IPR action plan with the Government of Ukraine that included a commitment to “act in a timely manner against infringing Internet websites identified by right holders as allofmp3.com clones, such as mp3fiesta.com.” Russia-based allofmp3 was formerly the world’s largest server-based pirate music website. Since it was shut down in 2007, nearly identical sites such as mp3fiesta have taken its place. Today’s list includes such allofmp3 clones as a notorious market.
You can view a copy of the list here.
The Notorious Markets List was previously included in the annual Special 301 Report. However, the 2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement stated that USTR, in coordination with the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, was to initiate an interagency process to assess opportunities to further expose and potentially expand on the notorious markets list in an effort to increase public awareness and guide related trade enforcement actions. As a result of that process, USTR has concluded that it can further expose the notorious markets list by initiating a separate, dedicated request for comments and publishing the list independently from the annual Special 301 Report in which it has previously been included.
The Special 301 Subcommittee received and reviewed written submissions from the public concerning potential examples of Internet and physical notorious markets. The Notorious Markets List released today is the result of this effort. Public submissions may be viewed online at www.regulations.gov, Docket number USTR-2010-0029.