Already published new US list of countries where piracy is still “alive”. What is interesting is this list? This is the first Notorious Markets review in which copyright stakeholders have nominated stream ripping sites for inclusion in the List.
Stream ripping is an emerging trend in digital copyright infringement that is increasingly causing substantial economic harm to music creators and undermining legitimate services. Stream ripping is the unauthorized act of converting a file from a licensed streaming site into an unauthorized copy for distribution via download to the requester.
Digital music revenues and streaming revenues in particular represent an increasingly important share of music industry growth. Stream ripping is a direct threat to this digital growth as it eliminates the need for users to return to licensed services, thereby depriving artists and record companies of this important revenue source. Pay-for-download sites and legitimate streaming services are simultaneously undermined, and incentives to create and launch new legitimate streaming services are weakened.
The 2016 List identifies prominent online and physical markets in which pirated or counterfeit products and services reportedly are available. It does not constitute a legal finding of a violation or an analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement environment in any affiliated country or economy. The List is not intended to be an exhaustive listing of all notorious markets around the world.
The 2016 List of notorious online markets again includes examples of various technologies and business models. USTR based its selections not on specific types of technologies or business models but on whether a nominated site or affiliated network of sites was reported to engage in or facilitate substantial piracy and counterfeiting to the detriment of U.S. creators and brand owners, as well as legitimate sellers and distributors. In addition to facilitating IPR infringement, these sites may lack safeguards for consumer privacy, security, and safety.
Nominated again this year, VK is one of the most popular sites in the world and continues to operate as an extremely popular social networking site in Russia and neighboring countries. VK reportedly facilitates the distribution of copyright-infringing files. VK has reached licensing agreements with major record companies, has taken steps to limit third party applications dedicated to downloading infringing content from the site, and has experimented with content recognition technologies.
Despite these positive signals, VK reportedly continues to be a hub of infringing activity and continues to be listed pending the institutionalization of appropriate measures to promote respect on its platform for IPR of all right holders, not just those with whom it has contracts, that are comparable to those measures used by other social media sites.
In some countries, infringing physical media (including CDs, DVDs, video game cartridges, pre-loaded computer hard drives, and other storage devices) continues to be prevalent. Physical markets remain a primary distribution channel for counterfeits in much of the world.
As in past years, copyright-intensive industries nominated online markets more than physical markets. Several commenters focused exclusively on notorious online markets due to the rise of digital distribution and online infringement. In contrast, trademark-based industries continued to nominate both online and physical marketplaces.
As in past years, several commenters continue to identify China as the primary source of counterfeit products. Some Chinese markets, particularly in larger cities, have adopted policies and procedures intended to limit the availability of counterfeit merchandise, but these policies are not widely adopted, and enforcement remains inconsistent. At the same time, some online markets are cooperating with law enforcement on counterfeiting and piracy operations offline.
Since the release of the 2015 List, some market owners and operators have undertaken notable efforts to address the widespread availability of pirated or counterfeit goods in their markets. The United States commends these efforts, and encourages governments, right holders, and the owners and operators of these and other markets, including those newly identified in the 2016 List, to engage in sustained and meaningful efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting.