China, Russia Head List of Pirates

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Hirsch, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Bush administration yesterday again cited China and Russia as serious intellectual property violators, and noted continuing concerns about several other countries as well.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab's office, which released its annual report on other countries' protection of intellectual property rights, said: "Rampant counterfeiting and piracy problems have continued to plague China and Russia."

Also on the administration's "priority watch list" are Argentina, Chile, Egypt, India, Israel, Lebanon, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela. Thirty-one other countries are of lesser concern.

The U.S. recently filed suit in the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China for its purported piracy, and has been joined by Canada, the 27-nation European Union, Japan and Mexico.

Despite anti-piracy campaigns and an increasing number of intellectual property cases in China's courts, "overall piracy and counterfeiting levels in China remained unacceptably high in 2006," the report said, citing U.S. industry estimates that 85 percent to 93 percent of all copyright material sold in China was pirated.

Moreover, the Chinese portion of intellectual property-infringing seizures at U.S. borders rose to 81 percent last year from 69 percent in 2005, according to the report, which said Chinese counterfeits include pharmaceuticals, electronics, batteries, auto parts, industrial equipment and toys.

On Russia, the report said U.S. industries estimate they lost more than $2.1 billion last year because of Russian copyright piracy, and it said criminal probes are in progress in Russia and elsewhere against operators of a Web site that the report said "offers global distribution of pirated music and is the most notorious of several problem websites operating from within Russia. …