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RIAA, Copyright Community Name Worst IP Offenders In Special 301 Recommendations to U.S. Trade Rep

Report outlines major foreign trade barriers & emerging issues leading to massive theft of U.S. creative community content

WASHINGTON – The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), which includes the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other copyright community groups, today highlighted those countries that fail to provide adequate and effective protection for U.S. intellectual property. 

In its submission to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as part of the annual Special 301 process, the IIPA identified China, Russia and Canada as some of the worst offenders for failing to adopt clear rules prohibiting services that are knowingly and intentionally operated to provide access to infringing materials. 

Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, for the RIAA offered the following comment:

“This report identifies some of the key shortcomings in the global protection of intellectual property, and highlights key reforms that could—and hopefully will—be undertaken to expand the opportunities for the creative community in the United States, and our global counterparts. One of the beauties of the creative sector is that it is not a zero sum game. When we improve the environment for the protection of intellectual property, we enhance the vitality of all creators, regardless of nationality. We rely on continued leadership from the U.S. government in advancing key norms that will help to nourish creativity wherever it blooms, and to help creators realize financial benefits commensurate with the popularity of the works that they create. Unfortunately, according to IFPI an astonishing 95% of all downloads are estimated to be infringing. That is not a sustainable environment for allowing creators to earn a living from their craft.

“Today’s report is not without good news. We are particularly pleased by recent developments in Spain where the Rajoy Administration has adopted long-stalled implementing regulations to a law that will hopefully permit the Spanish government to begin to address a runaway online piracy problem that has devastated the Spanish music industry. The Italian government is hopefully poised to adopt a similar measure. And there have been a number of important criminal actions undertaken in various jurisdictions, including most recently in Ukraine against the notorious pirate service, ex.ua. where we will be monitoring developments closely. We urge the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the operators of this service are brought to justice.

“Unfortunately, there are far too many places where governments have been far too complacent, or even hospitable, to the operation of services based on providing access to infringing materials. Russia and China lead that list, but they are not alone. It is fair to say that no country, including the United States, has found the right mix of tools to sustain an online environment that is not deeply affected by the unfair competition posed by the broad availability of stolen content. But this must serve as an invitation to action and creative solutions, not an excuse for inaction that imperils creativity and cultural diversity.

“We call upon each country to address the particular issues identified in today’s report. It is particularly important that countries like China, Russia and Canada adopt clear rules prohibiting the operation of services that are knowingly and intentionally operated to provide access to infringing materials. Russia’s vKontakte, China’s  Xunlei/ Gougou and Sohu/Sogou, and Canada’s isoHunt are all permitted to operate such services. The U.S. can ill afford to subsidize these foreign businesses by allowing them to profit from the works created by the American creative community.”

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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 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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Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
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