Washington, DC – Several countries’ failure to enforce legal protections for copyrighted works, as described in a U.S. government report released today, are harming U.S. creative industries and the economy as a whole, said Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Our country and our trading partners depend on investments in intellectual property to drive our economies,” Berman said. “But incentives and profits for engaging in copyright piracy are high, while the risks of being caught and brought to justice are low in many countries around the world. These problematic places have been identified, and now we must focus on enforcement.”
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual “Special 301” Report today reviewing the global state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement. The USTR conducts this report pursuant to Special 301 provisions of the Trade Act of 1974. It is meant to reflect the Administration’s resolve to encourage and maintain effective IPR protection and enforcement worldwide.
As in past reports, rampant illicit copying of CDs, online file-sharing of films and music, and other IPR violations in China, Russia, Spain and Thailand were noted. Canada was a new addition this year to the report’s Priority Watch List.
Canadian IPR enforcement was discussed at length at an April 6 Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on copyright piracy. Berman has since contacted the office of the Canadian ambassador to the United States and begun work on a list of IPR concerns to be raised at the May 15-18 Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group meeting. He is also preparing legislation to provide additional resources to combat intellectual property theft.