China, Canada among top five on US piracy watch list
Members of the US Congress condemned Canada, China, Mexico, Russia and Spain on Wednesday for failing to crack down on piracy of copyrighted movies, music, videogames and other entertainment.
The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus said theft of intellectual property in the five countries was at "alarming levels" and placed them at the top of the "2010 International Piracy Watch List."
The same five nations topped last year's list and the US legislators said they were "greatly disappointed by their failure to make meaningful progress during the last year" in protecting intellectual property.
The bipartisan caucus also released on Wednesday what it called a "list of notorious offenders" -- websites involved in making available unauthorized copies of the works of US creators.
The websites singled out by the caucus, made up of 70 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, were China's Baidu, Canada's isoHunt, Ukraine's MP3fiesta, Sweden's Pirate Bay, Germany's Rapidshare and Luxembourg's RMX4U.
They called on international trading partners to "take action against websites based within their borders whose business models are premised on delivering infringing content."
"We are losing billions and billions of dollars because of the lack of intellectual property protections," said Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah. "These five countries have been robbing Americans."
"The United States is on the wrong end of the greatest theft of intellectual property in the history of humankind," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island. "This must be stopped, and soon."
The caucus, citing industry estimates, said global piracy costs US firms over 25 billion dollars in lost sales annually.
Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said "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.
"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," Schiff said.
© 2010 AFP