MUMBAI: The US Trade Representative, in a detailed report, documented the worldwide threat to American film and television businesses and workers and other copyright-based industries from the theft of creative content and its illegal distribution both online and in physical copies in 41 countries.
In this year’s – Special 301 – report on worldwide intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk outlined the Obama Administration’s priorities over the coming year for addressing intellectual property (IP) concerns and identified countries particularly lacking in adequate and effective IP rights and enforcement.
“We are grateful the Obama Administration recognizes that intellectual property fuels our economy’s growth, and it is imperative to protect this economic driver from the theft of creative content both at home and abroad,” said Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) president and interim CEO Bob Pisano.
Pisano expressed appreciation for the hard work and dedication of US government agencies and US embassy officials. “We look forward to continued cooperation with the US government to raise awareness of the contribution of intellectual property to US global competitiveness and to augment IP enforcement efforts around the world,” he added.
More than 2.4 million people work in the motion picture and television industry all across the nation, earning over $41 billion in wages. These are creative, good-paying jobs – including costume designers, truck drivers, stage crews, actors, architects, directors and accountants, who face the relentless challenge to their livelihoods from IP theft. While the industry is continually seeking new and innovative ways to deliver creative content to consumers, particularly over the Internet, it is especially critical that U.S. trading partners have effective legislative frameworks for protecting creative content online and that they enforce intellectual property rights in the digital environment.
This year’s report indicates the scope of global piracy and highlights the mounting challenges of protecting intellectual property online, including major trading partners such as Spain, Canada, and Italy.
“Canada continues to gravely lag behind other major trading partners in updating its laws to respond to the tremendous technological changes that have occurred over the past decade and to enable a legitimate market for digital content to flourish,” Pisano said.
Internet piracy in Spain is undermining the development of legitimate online commerce and damaging both U.S. and Spanish creators. Pisano noted, “MPAA strongly supports the Government of Spain’s recent efforts to pass the Law on Sustainable Economy, which includes provisions to address Spain’s rampant online piracy problem. Standing in stark contrast to recent concerted efforts by the Governments of France, Spain and the United Kingdom to address online piracy, we urge the Italian Government and the Communications Authority to act expeditiously to protect intellectual property online, particularly in light of recent court developments.”
The MPAA concurs with USTR’s decision to keep both China and Russia on the Priority Watch List. While Russia has made some progress on the implementation of its obligations under the IPR Bilateral Agreement, much work remains before Russia should be permitted to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO). China continues to be one of the world’s largest suppliers and consumers of pirated goods, both online and in physical marketplaces. The MPAA hopes the Chinese will reform their legal system so that it may effectively deter piracy by providing meaningful criminal remedies against those who engage in piracy on a commercial scale.