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"Special 301 Report"- Spotlights Countries' Harming U.S. Export Sales
May 2, 2011 – WASHINGTON, DC – The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) commended the work of United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk in protecting American jobs and the creative works of video game artists by calling out deficient countries in the annual “Special 301” Report released today. The USTR’s annual report lists countries that deny adequate protection of intellectual property rights or prohibit fair market access to American businesses that rely on intellectual property protection.
“One of the fastest ways to get our economy back on track is to incent and reward high value intellectual property like video games,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, which represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. “We thank Ambassador Kirk for his leadership and urge outlying countries to elevate laws and enforcement practices to protect copyrighted works.”
The USTR identified 12 countries for placement on the “Priority Watch List” (PWL), including Canada, which is on the PWL for the third year, having again failed to pass legislation satisfying its international obligations under World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties. Other notable country decisions include:
• China and Russia, which will remain on the Priority Watch List.
• Italy will remain on the Watch List. ESA had observed that Italian Internet subscribers were responsible for more P2P file sharing of member titles than any other country in 2010. USTR committed to performing an “out-of-cycle review” during 2011 to evaluate the Italian government’s progress in addressing online piracy.
• Spain will remain on the Watch List, also for sustained levels of online piracy that have substantially damaged the market for legitimate copyrighted works.
• Brazil will also remain on the Watch List. ESA has observed growing online piracy and sustained market access barriers in Brazil that raise prices for legitimate products.
USTR also identified 29 other countries for placement on the “Watch List,” including Greece, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Many of the countries identified in the report were singled out by the Entertainment Software Association for failure to provide adequate protection for entertainment software products sold in their markets. In February, ESA brought industry concerns to the attention of the USTR through the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). IIPA’s February 2010 Special 301 public submission to USTR discussed copyright protection, enforcement, and market access problems, and recommended countries for placement on a Special 301 list.
The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the Electronic Entertainment Expo, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com.