In its latest “Country Watch List,” the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus identifies a handful of countries wherein a “lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights… causes grave harm to American creators and to our economy as a whole.”
It probably comes as no surprise to rights-holders who track online infringement on their intellectual property rights that China, Russia, and Ukraine made this year’s list (and the 2011 list, as well), although some might be surprised to see Switzerland and Italy join that trio.
In its report, the Caucus provides some detail of its concerns that brought it to list each country, as well as some recommended actions that each county should take to curtail piracy. The report is generally blunt in its assessment, although its not clear what (if any) actions will follow the frank assessment.
The Caucus aimed its most pointed criticism at Ukraine, stating that “Ukraine is a hub for infringing content through peer-to-peer networks and hosted websites” and that the “situation appears to be worsening.”
“Industry-supported efforts to build a legitimate online market have been challenged by government authorities and the limited enforcement efforts against rogue websites have lacked any substantial effect,” the report states. “Ukraine must take action to expand enforcement and update its laws, both with respect to criminal enforcement and to ensuring that copyright and telecommunications laws are adequate for the digital environment, and to ensure that rights holders have the ability to determine how their rights are exercised.”
It’s hard to say what the impact of this report will be (if any) but from a rights-holders perspective, it’s good to know that the Caucus is at least paying attention, and calling attention to the inadequate enforcement measures that allow piracy to find safe haven in various spots around the globe.
Now comes the hard part: doing something about it. We’ll continue to do our part here at DMCA Force, and we hope to see governments around the world take reasonable action, as well.