Friday, May 2, 2008

USTR 2008 Special 301 Report

United States Trade Representative (USTR) cites Quiapo's notoriety for selling counterfeit and pirated merchandise in page 8 of its 2008 Special 301 Report. The report doesn't mention anything specific on illegal optical media trade in the Philippines in relation to the Quiapo DVD market.

Read the whole report here:

Page 7, Notorius Markets...

Notorious Markets

Global piracy and counterfeiting continue to thrive, due in part to large marketplaces that deal in infringing goods. This year’s Special 301 Report notes the following virtual and physical markets as examples of marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement action, or may merit further investigation for possible IPR infringements, or both. The list represents a selective summary of information reviewed during the Special 301 process; it is not a finding of violations of law. The United States encourages the responsible authorities to step up efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting in these and similar markets.

Virtual Markets

Allofmp3 (Russia). Industry reports that allofmp3 was formerly the world’s largest serverbased pirate music website. Although the site’s commercial operations appear to have been disabled in 2007 and a criminal prosecution is pending, other Russian-based websites are reportedly continuing operations with similar infringing content.

Baidu (China). Industry has identified Baidu as the largest China-based “MP3 search engine” offering deep links to copyright-protected music files for unauthorized downloads or streaming. Baidu is the target of ongoing infringement actions.

Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) websites (China). A large number of these Chinese websites, such as Alibaba and Taobao, have been cited by industry as offering infringing products to consumers and businesses. The Internet traders who use these online markets to offer counterfeit goods are difficult to investigate, and contribute to the growth of global counterfeiting.

PirateBay (Sweden). Industry reports that PirateBay is one of the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker sites and a major global conduit for the unauthorized exchange of copyright-protected film and music files. PirateBay was raided by Swedish police in 2006, and the government initiated the prosecution of four Swedes associated with the site in January 2008, but the site has continued to operate, reportedly relying on servers located outside of Sweden.

Physical Markets

Silk Street Market (Beijing, China). Industry has cited Beijing’s Silk Street Market as “perhaps the single biggest symbol of China’s IP enforcement problems.” In 2005, authorities began to pressure the landlords of Silk Street Market and other major retail and wholesale markets in Beijing to improve compliance with IPR laws. In 2006, right holders prevailed in several court actions related to the market, and executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the landlords in June 2006. A January 2007 industry survey of the market reportedly showed that counterfeiting has worsened, with apparent violations in 65 percent of all outlets. More recent industry reports indicate that counterfeiting at Silk Street Market remains at critical levels.

China Small Commodities Market (Yiwu, China). The China Small Commodities Market in Yiwu reportedly sells approximately 410,000 different items, mostly small consumer goods. Industry has cited the market as a center for wholesaling of infringing goods. Officials in Yiwu have met repeatedly with U.S. Government officials and stressed their work to improve IPR enforcement. Industry confirms that enforcement in Yiwu has improved. Continued improvement is needed, particularly in the area of criminal enforcement.

Gorbushka, Rubin Trade Center, and Tsaritsino Markets (Moscow, Russia). Industry representatives report that piracy problems persist in these markets, though the situation has improved at the Gorbushka and Rubin Trade Center.

Tri-Border Region (Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil). The Tri-Border Region of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil has a longstanding reputation as a hotbed of piracy and counterfeiting of many products. The U.S. Government is funding a training project through which U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials will train prosecutors, police, and customs officials from the Tri-Border Region to combat intellectual property crime. Although Ciudad del Este remains the hub for pirate activities in Paraguay, industry reports that trade there has declined and that commercial concentrations are shifting to other cities. Through a revised Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Paraguay on IPR enforcement, the United States will be encouraging Paraguay to increase enforcement action with respect to a number of specifically-identified markets in that country.

Tepito, Plaza Meave, Eje Central, Lomas Verdes, and Pericoapa Bazaar (Mexico City); Simitrio-La Cuchilla (Puebla, Mexico); San Juan de Dios (Guadalajara, Mexico); and Pulgas Mitras and La Ranita (Monterrey). An estimated 50,000 vendors sell IPR products in Mexico’s ubiquitous, unregulated street markets. Past police raids on such markets have sometimes been met with violent resistance, requiring large contingents of security personnel.

Czech Border Markets (Czech Republic). Hundreds of open air market stalls are notorious for selling pirated and counterfeit products near the Czech border, including at the notorious Asia Dragon Bazaar in Cheb City. Many of these markets are highly organized, and even advertise on the Internet.

La Salada (Buenos Aires, Argentina). This is the largest of more than 40 large, wellestablished markets in Buenos Aires that have been cited as being heavily involved in the sale of 9 counterfeit goods. An estimated 6,000 vendors sell to 20,000 customers daily. The market is reputed to be a haven for organized criminal gangs that operate from within it, resulting in little to no IPR enforcement.

Neighborhood of Quiapo (Manila, Philippines). Street stalls in this neighborhood are notorious for selling counterfeit and pirated merchandise. Other notorious markets in Manila include Binondo, Greenhills, Makati Cinema Square, and Metrowalk.

Harco Glodok (Jakarta, Indonesia). This is reported to be one of the largest markets for counterfeit and pirated goods in Indonesia, particularly well-known for pirated optical discs. Enforcement officials are reportedly reluctant to conduct regular enforcement actions because of the presence of organized criminal gangs.

Panthip Plaza, Mah Boon Krong (MBK) Center, Klong Thom, Patpong, and Sukhumvit Road (Bangkok, Thailand). These locations are notorious for openly selling pirated and counterfeit goods. They are all designated as “red zones” by Thai authorities, which indicates that they are places where infringing products are most readily available.

Page 43, Watch List 2008...


The Philippines will remain on the Watch List in 2008. The United States is concerned about U.S. industry reports of an apparent increase in piracy in the Philippines, particularly in the areas of book piracy, illegal downloads using mobile devices, piracy on the Internet, and the illegal camcording of films in theaters. The United States urges the Philippines to take steps to reverse these trends and strengthen its enforcement regime against piracy and counterfeiting. Specifically, the Philippines should pursue final determinations in outstanding IPR cases, including those related to cable piracy, with imposition and implementation of deterrent-level penalties. The Philippines also should strengthen the Optical Media Board and provide it with adequate resources to expand and improve the effectiveness of its activities; strengthen the Customs IP unit; ensure that its patent regime complies with the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; enforce copyright protection of printed material; and seek to obtain amendments to the Copyright Act to implement the WIPO Internet treaties. The United States will continue to work with the Philippine Government under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to strengthen the Philippines IPR regime.

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