Congress Names 4 Countries To Anti-Piracy Watchlist

A Congressional caucus identified four nations that are failing to address high rates of digital piracy.

As first reported by The Hill, the anti-piracy watchlist released by the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus — formerly the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus — Tuesday zeroes in on China, Russia, India and Switzerland.

“That’s why we started the Watch List – to alert those who are profiting by stealing the hard work of American creators and the countries helping them that we are paying attention and we expect our trading partners to protect intellectual property rights,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

India is the only new addition to the list, despite an Economic Times report that the country is experiencing a tepid decline in software piracy. In 2013, piracy rates stood at 60 percent, three percentage points less than in 2011.

The report slammed China and Russia. China has a notoriously high software piracy rate, reported at 74 percent in 2013.

The piracy issues there have plagued companies like Microsoft, which has found sales in China elusive for decades. In 2012 the company tried to combat piracy there with sales of the Surface and Windows 8, but the company and government have recently clashed over China’s recent decision to ban Windows 8.

Roll Call reported Switzerland was an unexpected addition to the list because it did not appear on the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual review of international trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights, but China, Russia and India all ranked in the top 10.

Switzerland was first added to the watchlist in 2012 due to a 2010 Swiss Federal Supreme Court decision that made it “virtually impossible for rights holders to bring actions against large scale peer-to-peer infringers,” according to the watchlist report.

The caucus said the Philippines and Italy have made progress. Although online piracy rates remain high in Italy, the report found that Italian authorities have been more cooperative in combating the issue. The Philippines has moved toward addressing shortfalls in copyright laws.