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USTR Names Top Sites & Markets Known For Massive IP Theft

Report lists vKontakte, Megaupload, Sogou MP3 & Gougou as "notorious markets"

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today released its annual report on “notorious markets” – locations, physical or online, in which copyright theft is open, pervasive and undermines the respect for the rule of law.  In addition to physical markets such as Argentina’s La Salada that operate in blatant disregard of the law, online businesses such as Russia’s vKontakte, Hong Kong’s Megaupload and China’s Gougou and Sogou MP3 are all featured prominently in the report.

“This report shines a spotlight on the unsavory practices of some of the globe’s most notorious bad actors,” said Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, RIAA.  “It highlights sites that employ a variety of different means to profit from the theft of music, but in the end, they all rest upon the same untenable proposition—that stealing the creative work of others is acceptable. Some sites like the pay-per-download sites in Russia charge directly for the distribution of illegal music. Others use unlicensed copyrighted works to draw users in order to sell advertising, while others offer infringing music to attract users and build market share. Regardless of whether sites actually host infringing materials or operate to direct traffic to infringing materials, it is long past time for these services, and the countries in which they are located, to take immediate steps to stop the massive theft accomplished by and through these services.”

“We thank USTR for this important contribution to the conversation about how to expand opportunities for the lawful digital distribution of legitimate copyright materials,” Turkewitz added, “and call upon each of these sites to rethink the wisdom and fairness of maintaining services that undermine the ability of artists to earn a living from their craft.”

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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.

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