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News Releases

Music Industry Reacts To USTR Report On Nations With Inadequate IP Protections

April 30, 2010
**China Still Among Worst Offenders, Baidu Biggest Obstacle To Legitimate Digital Commerce in China, Says RIAA**




**Brunei Shows Progress While Russia, Spain and Canada Still Fail To Adopt Meaningful IP Protections**

WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released its annual “Special 301” report [http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2010/april/ustr-releases-2010-special-301-report-intellectual-p] which addresses intellectual property rights issues and practices in 41 nations and highlights the most significant problems facing U.S. intellectual property owners in those foreign markets. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)’s Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, offered the following comments on the report.

“This year’s report continues to focus attention on the need for a more robust global response to internet piracy. We hope that U.S. trading partners will indeed take up this critical issue -- particularly some of the most economically developed countries where legislation has failed to keep pace with the requisites of modern society such as Canada and Spain. This past year has witnessed a number of countries moving towards innovative solutions to enhance the level of accountability and security in online commerce, including France, the UK and New Zealand, and we encourage all governments to closely examine their legal and regulatory structures to ensure that all reasonable steps are being undertaken to enhance legitimate commerce and to expand opportunities for the creative community to provide global audiences with access to legal materials. Digital communications media can fuel global cultural production and allow individual creators to reach global audiences. Whether the internet and other digital platforms reach their potential to fuel a renaissance in cultural production is wholly dependent upon whether they operate on the basis of legal market conditions. At present, traffic on the net consists predominantly of infringing materials, thereby undermining rather than fueling cultural production and diversity. This must be reversed.”

The Baidu and China Story

“As has been the case for the past few years, enforcement issues in China remain atop USTR's and our agendas. The physical marketplace for music and other copyrighted materials has been mired in piracy for some time, and we place great importance on avoiding the same situation with respect to the online market. Sadly, all current signs suggest that the online market is replicating the same kind of problems that have affected the physical environment -- poor enforcement, government toleration of open and notorious theft, and a myriad of discriminatory market access barriers that undermine the ability to provide legitimate materials to the Chinese public. The time has come for China to end its history of poor intellectual property enforcement, and to operate in accordance with international standards.

“China has more broadband internet users than the United States. Nevertheless, due to piracy primarily fueled by Baidu and other discriminatory market access barriers -- the online sale of legitimate music in China remains seriously depressed -- reaching only $9 million in 2009. That is a fraction of the approximately $2 billion of legitimate online sales in United States last year. The Chinese government has permitted a fast-growing array of illegal websites, “cyber lockers,” and “deeplinking” search engines which connect users directly to illegal content. Deeplinking services provide an estimated 50 percent of pirate music files in China. By far the largest such Chinese service is Baidu. 

“Amazingly, Baidu does not deny that its activities promote copyright theft.  In various SEC disclosures, Baidu acknowledges that it maintains a music service that is dependent upon providing links to infringing materials.  In its disclosure, Baidu reflects on the importance of its infringing music service to the totality of the company:

A significant portion of our traffic is generated by users of our MP3 search service. According to Alexa.com, 16% of our traffic went to mp3.baidu.com, our MP3 search platform, as of March 31, 2006. Should we face (as a result of the foregoing considerations or otherwise) a need or decision to substantially modify, limit, or terminate our MP3 search service, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

“This is brazen and notorious theft. Despite the Chinese government’s many public assurances that it is committed to combating copyright piracy, it has thus far chosen to do nothing about Baidu’s admittedly infringing activities. The precise activity in which Baidu is engaged has already been held to be infringing in a decision rendered against Yahoo!cn. Regrettably, a court has recently ruled that Baidu is not jointly liable for the infringement that it facilitates and from which it generates profits. This decision has been appealed, and we encourage the Chinese government to take immediate action to end this obvious injustice that harms U.S. and Chinese creators alike.”

Russia, Canada, Spain and Korea

“In addition to identifying countries whose legal or enforcement regimes are inadequate - most notably China, Russia, Canada and Spain -- this year’s report also identifies some key ‘notorious markets’ which are generally known as hotbeds of piracy but which have not been adequately addressed by host governments. These include virtual markets such as Baidu’s music service, the allofmp3 clones operating in Russia and Ukraine, and the "webhards" or locker services operating in Korea. The allofmp3 clones continue to operate without interference from government, despite the fact that they are commercial operations that claim patently bogus licenses from rogue societies. We hope that the Russian and Ukrainian governments will take immediate action to end these operations. The Korean "webhards" “or “cyberlockers” are a form of closed file sharing system in which pirates store their unauthorized files online and distribute passwords to the storage facilities to would-be downloaders. The downloaders usually “pay” for access through “cybercash” credits administered by the web-hard operator. These are a blight in an otherwise improved online climate in Korea, and we hope that their continued operations in Korea are short-lived.”

Bright Spots

“There are some bright spots to note. Less than a year and half ago, we petitioned USTR to place Brunei on the Priority Watch List for having one of the worst enforcement records in the world. Since that time, the Brunei government has worked closely with the music industry and has done a commendable job in addressing the problem of music piracy -- so much so that we had not recommended that they be placed on any list this year. The Brunei government is to be congratulated for its extraordinary progress. In a similar vein, this year USTR accepted RIAA’s recommendation that the Czech Republic be taken off the 301 list for its work in addressing music piracy at its many border markets, and we congratulate the Czech government for its achievements while we caution that it must be vigilant to ensure that the problem does not return.”

Work of Ambassador Kirk and his team making a difference

“We thank Ambassador Kirk, his dedicated team, and all of those officials at agencies throughout the government who pour their hearts and souls into defending the integrity of intellectual property in global markets. They know that this mission is critical not only in economic terms, but in maintaining the creativity and innovation that forms the very foundation of our country. The production of cultural materials reflects and defines us as a nation, and we express our gratitude to the various officials in the Administration and Congress who understand this, and who fight to preserve and expand our continued ability to drive creativity and innovation."

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101


RIAA Comment On ACTA Draft

April 21, 2010
WASHINGTON -- The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other international negotiators recently released a draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting and Trade Agreement (ACTA). Below is a comment from Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, Recording Industry Association of America:

"We express our sincere appreciation to USTR and other international negotiators for their hard work and dedication in seeking to improve global IP protection through the negotiation of an Anti-Counterfeiting and Trade Agreement (ACTA). The draft text released today serves as a solid step forward in seeking to harmonize efforts to protect intellectual property, a driving force behind expanding the global economic marketplace for creative materials and the advancement of culture.

"Enhancing global copyright protection is critical to the thousands of hard-working individuals who share the common goal of producing the world's best music. The Internet is a main distribution platform to connect a global audience with music, and it is important that the integrity of the distribution chain not be undermined. We are encouraged that this blueprint clears a helpful path towards a brighter future for all those who love music, and we hope that the release of this document will help to dispel some of the concerns that have been expressed about what it might provide."

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101


RIAA COMMENT & IFPI RELEASE ON PASSAGE OF U.K. DIGITAL ECONOMY ACT

April 08, 2010
See below for comment from RIAA Chairman & CEO Mitch Bainwol on recent U.K. passage of the Digital Economy Act, legislation that will provide enhanced measures for ISPs and creators to protect creative works online. IFPI release further below.

“We welcome the recognition by the U.K. government – as with increasing numbers of countries around the world – that ISPs have an important role to play in protecting creators and preserving the Internet as an engine of economic growth and a platform for innovative business models. To be sure, the more this trend goes global, the greater the possibilities are for a thriving music marketplace that better serves the creators of music and their fans.”


# # #

For further information contact:
Adrian Strain or Alex Jacob, IFPI London
Adrian.strain@ifpi.org / alex.jacob@ifpi.org
Tel. +44 (0)20 7878 7935 (press office)

INTERNATIONAL MUSIC INDUSTRY WELCOMES NEW UK ANTI-PIRACY LAW AND CALLS FOR OTHER COUNTRIES TO FOLLOW SUIT

London, 8th April 2010 - The international music industry today called for governments to take decisive legislative action to curb digital piracy following the passing of the landmark Digital Economy Act in the UK.

IFPI, representing around 1400 major and independent record companies worldwide, said the newly-adopted UK legislation, requiring measures from ISPs to curb piracy on their networks, sets a powerful example to other countries.
IFPI chairman John Kennedy said: “The passing of the Digital Economy Act in the UK recognises that if a country is to have world-class creative industries, then it also needs laws that will effectively protect their rights from the crippling problem of digital piracy.

“The new UK legislation is a decisive step towards dealing with P2P and other forms of illegal distribution in a way that can substantially reduce the problem. Most importantly, it recognises that internet service providers have an essential role to play in curbing online piracy and reducing infringements on their networks.

“The move by the UK creates momentum for the graduated response approach to tackling piracy internationally. Governments increasingly understand that, in the digital economy, creative industries like music, film, books and games can drive growth and jobs for many years to come if they are provided with the right legal environment and with a modern system of enforcement in which ISPs actively cooperate.

“The UK has today joined the ranks of those countries who have taken decisive and well-considered steps to address the issue. We hope this will prompt more focus and urgency for similar measures in other countries where debate is underway.”

-Ends -

Notes to Editors


1. The Digital Economy Act introduces a graduated response system, by which ISPs will write education and warning letters to copyright infringers, with the prospect of technical measures, such as temporary account suspension, being used as a sanction in response to subsequent repeat infringement. For further details and the response of the UK music industry, see the press release issued today by the BPI on behalf of UK music labels - www.bpi.co.uk

2. Several Governments, including the UK, have proposed or adopted legislation introducing a graduated response system for ISPs. In France, the “Hadopi” law including temporary account suspension for repeat infringers is expected to come into force later this year. Measures have also been introduced in Korea and Taiwan and have been proposed by the Government in New Zealand.

3. For further information on the digital music business, including progress by governments internationally to curb piracy, see IFPI’s Digital Music Report at www.ifpi.org.

4. IFPI and WIN, representing record labels internationally, last month issued a new report “Investing in Music – how music companies discover, develop and promote talent”. For a copy of the report, go to www.ifpi.org.

5. Creative industries and trade unions internationally have called for firm action by governments on digital piracy. A study by Tera Consultants, released with the support of major trade unions in March 2010, projected the cost of not tackling piracy in Europe at more than 1.2 million lost jobs by 2015. The full study and press release can be found on the websites for BASCAP unions including UNI MEI, FIA and the Musicians Union.

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101


RIAA Statement On Recent Announcement That The U.S. And Brazil Have Taken Steps To Avoid The Imposition Of Sanctions In The Cotton Dispute

April 06, 2010
WASHINGTON -- In connection with the announcement today by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that the U.S. and Brazil have agreed on a path toward a negotiated solution of the cotton dispute, RIAA issued the following statement by Executive Vice President, International, Neil Turkewitz:

“We are very pleased that the Brazilian and U.S. Governments have developed a path forward that removes the spectre of imminent sanctions, and we hope that a final solution can be reached. We are grateful to Ambassador Kirk, Secretary Vilsak and their team for their dedication in seeking a resolution of this matter. We also appreciate the commitment of the Brazilian government to solving this problem in a constructive manner. We believe that the imposition of sanctions would be harmful to finding a successful final resolution of the problem, and we recognize that Brazil’s actions reflect a proper understanding that the imposition of sanctions signals a failure of a process, and not success. Particularly in the arena of intellectual property rights, any decrease in the level of protection afforded in Brazil could undermine its ability to attract investment in the production of creative material, and would prejudice Brazil’s own economic and cultural interests. We salute the hard work, vision and cooperation of both governments, and express our hopes for a satisfactory and full resolution of this matter.”

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101