Congress releases piracy 'watch list'

Five countries scolded for hosting offending file-sharing sites

Congress, with an assist from entertainment lobbyists, released its list of notorious websites where piracy flourishes, and it chastised the five countries that housed those sites.

The offending countries, Canada, China, Mexico, Russia and Spain, have the dubious distinction of being mentioned on a sort of Hollywood's Most Wanted list alongside file-sharing sites Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, Mp3fiesta, RapidShare, RMX4U and Baidu.

The list comes from the 70-member Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, and it was hailed Wednesday by the RIAA, MPAA and the Entertainment Software Assn., which lobbies on behalf of the video game industry.

"The release of this report casts a damning spotlight once again on several nations with lax copyright protections and websites that brazenly traffic in copyright theft," said RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol.

"Canada lacks the basic protections for the digital environment and is a safe haven for Internet pirates," said Robert Pisano, interim CEO of the MPAA. "In Spain, Internet piracy has reached an epidemic level, damaging both U.S. and Spanish creators."

While the IAPC list is an interesting step in Hollywood's ongoing effort to thwart Internet piracy, it remains to be seen if it helps much, considering how difficult it is to shut down some of the more notorious sites.

On Monday, for example, German officials finally pressured Pirate Bay's Internet host to shut down the service, but Pirate Bay was up and running again the next day.

"The United States has been on the losing end of the largest theft of intellectual property in history. This must be stopped, and soon," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, co-chair of the IAPC.