Spain Removed from Watch List, Ukraine under ScrutinyThe Office of the United States Trade Representative has recently released its 2013 report, known as the “Special 301”. There, Ukraine found itself at the top of the notorious list, marked as a “Priority Foreign Country”.
In the meanwhile, Spain and Bulgaria managed to make it out of the “Special 301”, but they aren’t off the hook completely, because the United States Trade Representative will keep conducting reviews on both of them. The “Special 301” also reveals that Canada’s grade has been modified, from “Priority Watch List” to “Watch List.”
The report noted that a year ago, the United States welcomed the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act. The latter, among other things, was created to implement Canada’s obligations under the WIPO Internet Treaties, as well as to address the challenges of copyright piracy. A few months ago, Canada also implemented the Combating Counterfeit Products Act in order to strengthen IPR enforcement. The latter included provisions which would provide ex officio authority to the local customs officials to seize pirated and counterfeit goods at the border.
Along with Canada, Israel, Egypt, Mexico, and Brazil also made it to the “Watch List”, while such countries as Algeria, Argentina, China, Chile, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela had less luck and were all tagged under the “Priority Watch List.” In addition, the report says that obtaining effective enforcement of IPR in China is still its central challenge. The matter is that more than 90% of the revenue generated by American movies in China is represented by box office revenues, compared to 25-30% in the US. This difference is explained by widespread piracy of films in the Internet and on optical discs.
Finally, the American government discovered that some trends are blossoming – for example, the “emergence of Media Box piracy, whereby “boxes”, usually having capability to play high definition content, are loaded with lots of pirated works. Such boxes may be sold with preloaded content, while later offering to upload new content for a relatively low fee. Of course, the entertainment industry was quick to respond – it pointed out that Ukraine and Thailand still need better copyright laws and congratulated Spain for a job well done.