USTR’s Watch List Updated: Spain Is Removed, While Ukraine And 40 Other Countries Are Under Attentive Scrutiny
This year’s report (known as the “Special 301”) has been released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Ukraine seems to be at the top of the notorious list, marked as a “Priority Foreign Country”.
The lucky countries that made it out of the “Special 301” are Spain and Bulgaria. They’re not off the hook completely, however, as the USTR is still to conduct reviews on both of them. The list continues to reveal that Canada’s grade has been modified, from “Priority Watch List” to “Watch List.”
“In June 2012, the United States welcomed the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act, which, among other things, is designed to implement Canada’s obligations under the WIPO Internet Treaties and to address the challenges of copyright piracy in the digital age. In March 2013, Canada also introduced the Combating Counterfeit Products Act to strengthen IPR enforcement, which included provisions that would provide ex officio authority to Canadian customs officials to seize pirated and counterfeit goods at the border,” the report noted.
Israel, Egypt, Mexico, and Brazil made it to the “Watch List” as well.
Not so lucky were Algeria, Argentina, China, Chile, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela, all tagged under the “Priority Watch List.”
“Obtaining effective enforcement of IPR in China remains a central challenge, as it has been for many years,” this year’s report reads.
It continued by stating that “over 90 percent of the revenue generated by U.S. films in China comes in the form of box office revenues, compared to 25-30 percent in the United States. This difference is partly due to widespread piracy of motion pictures over the Internet and on optical discs.”
Last but not least, the US government found that various trends are blossoming, including the “emergence of Media Box piracy, whereby ‘boxes,’ often with capability to play high definition content, are loaded with large quantities of pirated works. These boxes may be sold with preloaded content, but can later have new content uploaded for a relatively low fee.”
The MPAA was quick to respond. While pointing out that Ukraine and Thailand are still in need of better copyright laws (Thailand’s been advised to take a stand against camcording pirates), the MPAA congratulated Spain for a job well done.
“MPAA welcomes the efforts of the Spanish Government to enforce copyright protection and looks forward to concrete results in the months ahead.”
See the full report here.