At a press conference today, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairs of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, unveiled the “2010 International Piracy Watch List,” a report of those nations where copyright piracy has reach alarming levels costing the U.S. billions. Topping the list in this second annual report are China, Russia, Canada, Spain, and Mexico.
“Our nation and our economy is what it is today, because of the ingenuity and ideas of our people – ideas that have been safeguarded through strong intellectual property rights protections. But, as the 2010 Watch List report makes clear, those very ideas are increasingly at risk from piracy and counterfeiting abroad,” said Senator Hatch. “What is stunning is that piracy isn’t just emanating from countries like Russia and China, but also from Canada and Mexico, our largest trading partners. Now is the time for policymakers to come together to tackle this global threat that cripples economic growth and stifles the innovation that has made our nation great.”
“International piracy of American intellectual property weakens a segment of our economy that long has supported innovation and great American jobs,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Congress must work on a bipartisan basis to protect the creative industries and the jobs they support. The United States has been on the losing end of the largest theft of intellectual property in history. This must be stopped, and soon.”
“Intellectual property must be protected if our economy is to thrive -- and enforcing these protections does not stop at the water’s edge,” said Congressman Adam Schiff. “American entrepreneurs invest their time, money and sweat into creating the next must-have music, film and technology, and justly expect to be compensated by the market. To assure the continued creation and distribution of music, movies, software and books, from which we all benefit, we must ensure that our artists, creators and producers are paid for their work, and take much stronger action to ensure countries on the anti-piracy watch list are forced to take piracy seriously.”
“It is tempting to think of crimes involving piracy, or intellectual property theft, as victimless, but this is simply untrue. Piracy denies individuals who have invested in the creation and production of these goods a return on their investment thus reducing the incentive to invest in innovative products and new creative works,” Congressman Goodlatte said. “The end result is the loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the U.S. each year and even greater losses to the U.S. economy in terms of reduced job growth and exports. Not only is the problem of piracy plaguing U.S. creators but it has become a global epidemic. We must encourage other countries to enact and enforce strong intellectual property laws in order to fully protect America’s inventors and authors, as well as their own.”
Canada, China, Mexico, Russia and Spain made the Watch List, because of the scope and depth of their piracy problems, costing U.S. industries billions in lost revenues and jobs, and because they have not taken steps to confront the problem. These same countries were included on the 2009 Watch List, and over the last year, have made no meaningful progress to enforce intellectual property rights.
America is the largest creator, producer, and exporter of copyrighted material. In 2009, industry estimates that global piracy costs U.S. firms over $25 billion in lost sales annually.
An explosion in piracy and a lessening of copyright protection have accompanied advances in entertainment technology. Organized crime has become heavily involved in foreign DVD and CD piracy - using the same distribution network and resources that were developed for drug trafficking and arms smuggling.
The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus also highlighted the problem of websites, which are hosted overseas, that provide access to unauthorized copies of copyrighted works made by U.S. creators. China’s Baidu, Canada’s IsoHunt, Ukraine’s mp3fiesta, Germany’s RapidShare, Luxembourg’s RMX4U.com and Sweden’s The Pirate Bay were identified as priority sites. These sites are among the most heavily visited websites worldwide.
Formed in 2003, the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus is made up of 70 members of Congress with the goal of providing and highlighting international intellectual property protection and piracy.