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2015 Notorious Markets List Spotlights Fight Against Global Piracy and Counterfeiting of American Products

Washington, D.C. – U. S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today 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 United States and foreign governments to prioritize IPR enforcement that protects job-supporting innovation and creativity in the United States 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 U.S. Trade Representative Michael 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 U.S. 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 United States 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 United States 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 percent last year and online pirate sites were similarly noted with growing concern by copyright holders in the United States.

To read the full report, which also includes examples of previously-identified Notorious Markets that have taken meaningful steps to address piracy and counterfeiting, click here

BACKGROUND

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. 

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 U.S. 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.

Today’s announcement concludes the 2015 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, which was initiated on September 10, 2015, through publication in the Federal Register of a request for public comments.  The Notorious Markets List was developed by the U.S. Government agencies represented on the USTR-chaired Special 301 Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) based on information received in response to the Federal Register request.  The request for comments and the public’s responses can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov, Docket number USTR-2015-0016.  Information about Special 301, the TPSC process, and other trade issues is available at www.ustr.gov