The International Intellectual Property Alliance has issued its annual report to the U.S. Trade Representative, underscoring copyright piracy and market access barriers for American intellectual property owners abroad. The alliance — representing U.S. copyright industries, including the Recording Industry Association of America — highlighted 49 countries in its annual “Special 301” survey. Which countries drew American criticism?In a statement by the recording group, China and Russia were called out as the most egregious wrongdoers (“…levels of piracy…essentially eclipse the output of the legitimate sector”). Russia’s legitimate music market shrunk 30% in 2011, despite the abundance of legal services available.

  • Russia: Social networking site vKontakte has been flagged before and is responsible for much of Russia’s piracy. The U.S. recording group urges the Russian government to pass laws and regulations to prevent companies from actively and passively promoting infringement.
  • China: The U.S. report says piracy and regulatory restrictions have stifled the Chinese music market, which generated only $82.8 million in 2011 versus the $1 billion American experts estimate it should make. The U.S. group decries the lack of action against those who infringe and a regulatory structure riddled with “discriminatory measures” that make it hard to run legal music platforms.

It should be interesting to see whether the countries adopt more legal streaming and downloading services, considering the relative success such services are providing for creative industries in the U.S.