India Joins China, Russia, Switzerland On Piracy Watch List

45 BIZ Piracy Badge Illustration P

California's two sexiest industries are at odds as new legislation in Congress looks to grant U.S. law enforcement unprecedented access to fight rogue piracy sites abroad .

Italy and The Philippines fall off the list of countries where intellectual property like movies and TV aren’t properly protected for the first time since 1989.

The 2014 International Piracy Watch List is out, and India makes the motley crew for the first time — while Italy falls off the roster of countries where copyright piracy is rampant.

Announced Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the annual list was presented by a group of U.S. Senators and Representatives under the banner of the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus. Other countries that top the watch list are China, Russia and Switzerland, although the latter gets some credit for slowly beginning to address the problem of intellectual property theft.

Besides Italy, the report singles out The Philippines as a country in transition toward creating a stronger legal framework to protect movies, TV, music, software and other copyright protected materials and property. Both Italy and the Philippines have been taken off  the government’s Special 301 Report for the first time in its 25 year history.

The report also provides an update on efforts to get cooperation from the private sector to stop advertising, marketing and credit card processing on pirate web sites. “Whether it is movie makers, musicians, or and app makers, our economy is based upon the principle that property should be respected -- not stolen --and this right does not end at the water's edge," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). "This is not only fair, but it is good economics." 

“The recognition of an author’s ownership in an original creative work is one of our legal system’s core principles,” added Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). “If we allow people to take that work without paying for it, artists will no longer have any financial incentive to create new movies, software, video games, books and music. The end result is the loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the U.S. each year and even greater losses to our economy in terms of reduced job growth and exports.”

The Caucus praises China for moves to protect IP but said the “scale of piracy remains massive, inflicting substantial harm to American and Chinese creators.”

And the report also notes some Chinese websites, including the social network Baidu and the reseller Taobao, have been removed from the USTR’s Notorious Markets report. 

Russia continues to lack IP protection which allows continued “rampant Internet piracy.” It adds that this is “particularly distressing in light of commitments made by Russia  prior to World Trade Organization accession in 2012. A December 2013 report to Congress.” And India, according to the report, presents “a seriously flawed environment for the promotion of copyright and Intellectual Property.”

“Despite a large domestic creative industry in film, music, and other copyright intensive industries,” added the report, “India continues to lag badly in both the legal framework for protection of IP and enforcement priorities. Among the continuing issues in India are extremely high rates of camcording piracy, high levels of unlicensed software use by enterprises, and a lack of effective notice-and-takedown procedures for online piracy.”

The Caucus also praised India and The Philippines --- singling out the latter for making “substantial strides towards addressing what have been longstanding shortfalls in copyright law and IP enforcement.