At a press conference today the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, made up of more than 70 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, unveiled the “2009 International Piracy Watch List.” In an effort to combat international copyright piracy by calling attention to countries where piracy has reached alarming levels the Caucus announced they will closely monitor the serious problems of copyright piracy in the following five countries: China, Russia, Canada, Spain, and Mexico.
“These countries stand out because of the scope and depth of their piracy problems, which cost the US copyright industries and the millions of Americans who work in these companies billions of dollars and because piracy in these countries is largely the result of a lack of political will to confront the problem,” said the caucus in a press release.
The caucus hails the advent of digital technology and its promise of a “golden age” for entertainment, but laments that its been accompanied by an “explosion” in piracy and a “diminution” in copyright protection.
“Fostering strong intellectual property protection builds the economies of not only developed nations, like ours, but for any nation striving to achieve a vibrant and growing economy,” said Senator Hatch (R-UT). “Conversely, counterfeiting and piracy cripple growth and stifle innovation. Many do not understand that ideas, inventions, artistic works, and other commercially viable products created out of one’s own mental processes deserve the same protection under the law as any tangible product or piece of real estate. Unfortunately, some believe that if they find it on the Internet then it must be free. We must stop this destructive mindset.”
It also says that criminals, using the same distribution networks used for drug trafficking and arms smuggling is being used for a “virtual evisceration of the legitimate market for American entertainment.”
“In tough economic times it’s more important than ever to safeguard intellectual property,” said Senator Whitehouse (D-RI). “American entertainment and software companies create millions of jobs, generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, and drive much of our country’s research and development. Piracy threatens those jobs, those revenues and the value of that research, and we need bipartisan solutions to stop it.”
Guess the fact that 2/3 of the world’s population lives on less than a dollar a day is of no concern to these elected officials or the entertainment industry executives who have successfully lobbied them to roll out lists such as this.
Congressman Schiff (D-CA) even compares digital content theft to physical, a nonsensical 1:1 claim that’s been debunked over and over again.
“The creation, production, and export of music, movies, software, and books, make up America’s new ‘assembly line’ of the 21st century,” said Schiff. “Just as we don’t allow cars to be stolen off the lots of Ford or GM dealerships, we cannot allow movies, music, and computer programs to be stolen from motion picture studios, recording studios, and software manufactures. The U.S. copyright industry deserves the same protection under the law.”
It said the Chinese government “has permitted piracy to fully contaminate the online marketplace via an array of nefarious illegal websites, file storage sites (and) user generated content sites.”
China’s largest online MP3 search engine, Baidu, is “responsible for the vast majority of illegal downloading of music in China, deriving significant advertising revenue in connection with its music service,” it said. “This is just one of the many examples of Chinese sites whose entire business model relies on providing access to infringing materials. In the publishing industry, some China-based companies are disseminating millions of copies of scientific journals obtained illegally from university libraries.”
The caucus said that “despite the Chinese government’s many public assurances that it is committed to combating copyright piracy, little action has been taken against infringing online activities, very much mirroring the lack of effective actions against physical piracy over the years.”
It says software piracy hovers at 80% - rate much too high.
It said Russia had made “some progress” in respecting intellectual property rights over the past few years but “much work remains before we can support Russia’s accession to the rules-based World Trade Organization.”
“In particular, we are disappointed that there has been inadequate progress in addressing Internet and optical disc piracy through the effective enforcement of criminal laws with deterrent penalties,” it adds.
As for Canada, the caucus is concerned that it lacks an “effective legal framework governing Internet Service Provider (ISP) liability and responsibility.”
It says that Canada has become known as a “safe haven” for Internet pirates, and that there is an “urgent need for amendments to the Copyright Act in order to comply with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet Treaties.
“We call upon the Canadian Government to swiftly adopt measures that would do the following: clarify that parties who facilitate, encourage, and profit from widespread infringement are liable under Canadian law; meaningfully engage ISPs in the fight against online piracy; reaffirm that unauthorized downloading is not protected by the personal use exception/levy; and effectively prevent the circumvention of technological protection measures, including banning trafficking in circumvention devices,” it adds.
So with Canada its concern mainly stems from the fact that the govt is unwilling to hold ISPs responsible for the illegal activities of its customers. Why stop at illegal file-sharing? Why not hold them responsible if a user solicits prostitution or buys drugs?
It also says that Spain has a “rampant Internet piracy problem.”
“Internet piracy in Spain has reached an epidemic level, and rights holders lack the necessary tools to enforce their rights on the Internet,” it says.
“P2P piracy in Spain is widely perceived as an acceptable cultural phenomenon, and the situation is exacerbated by a government policy that has essentially decriminalized illicit P2P file-sharing.”
It’s angry that Spanish ISPs have so far been unwilling to collaborate in the fight against Internet piracy. It wants to negotiate agreements between rights holders and ISPs to develop a framework to promote legitimate electronic commerce and full respect for intellectual property rights.
Spain’s been one of the few countries that recognizes that there’s a big difference between the guy hawking bootleg DVDs on the corner and the guy who downloads a copy to watch at home because it’s more convenient or economical. The courts there actually realize there’s a difference - the lack of commercial gain - and that the punishment shouldn’t be the same in each case.
Copyright piracy also remains a severe problem in Mexico with only a handful of state governments interested in fighting illegal trade, the caucus said, and an absence of venalities to deter copyright pirates. It said that the sheer dimension of the piracy problems in Mexican markets “remains severe” with little or no improvement in 2008.
Maybe it’s because Mexican officials are too busy fighting real problems like poverty, corruption, and oh yeah, those deadly international narco-traffickers beheading people and dissolving their rivals in vats of acid.
When takes a look at the Piracy Watch List as a whole and looks for a recurring theme in their “suggestions” for these 5 countries with “alarming levels” of piracy, we see ISP level filtering and culpability for the actions of customers.
More importantly, it wants ISPs and copyright holders to negotiate and agree to terms on their own, free from public scrutiny, rather than with in consultation of the govt and the people it represents. None of the “suggestions” it has for any of the other countries on its so-called list would ever fly in the US. Why do they expect it to in others?
What the International anti-piracy caucus should really be focused on is reforming copyright laws so that we can get the on-demand content streaming that users really want. All file-sharing is doing is fulfilling unmet distribution needs.
Source: Anti piracy