When a recent presidential aspirant jested about his grasp of international affairs and whether he knew, gotcha, the name of the leader of Uz-Beki-Beki-Stan-Stan, music and entertainment industry officials had to flinch more than just a little: They know all too well that distant parties play a big role in what they see as outright piracy of their tunes, shows and other intellectual properties. And, in an annual ritual, Washington has asked and the industries have responded to a request from the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) by sending out updated lists from the movie and recording industry of what they term “notorious markets.”
This pirate list, one of many written in recent years, includes online and physical markets and covers an array of websites and companies that, for example, the Motion Picture Association of America asserts threaten the lucrative U.S. film and broadcast industry. The identified malefactors were found across the globe in places like Australia, Argentina , Ukraine, China, Ireland, and Mexico – just to name a few.
Listed internet pirates – ranging from streaming movie portals and peer-to-peer networks and everything in between – each are profiled by the MPAA in its letter, with their online popularity rankings and how many visitors they have has racked up. More than a dozen sites were named but the MPAA doesn’t stop there: It also details several physical markets and what it calls criminal groups involved in DVD film piracy and manufacture and distribution of counterfeit goods.
Although the majority of its letter to the trade representative dealt with copyright piracy, the Hollywood powerhouse made it a point to explain how “notorious markets” harm U.S. industry. Technology’s rapid development, the letter notes, has made it more difficult for Tinseltown to squash unlawful conduct.
This is an issue of particular concern to those in the music industry, who, through one of their major groups, the Recording Industry Association of America, noted the rise globally of digital services — many of them legal — from two dozen or so in 2011 to more than 500 now; as these operations spread, offering, the RIAA noted, more than 30 million tracks to consumers, the opportunities for piracy explode, exponentially.
As for movie makers, clever crafting in their letter also sought to humanize the issue, asserting: “copyright theft is not a victimless crime. The criminals who profit from the most notorious markets throughout the world threaten the very heart of our industry and in doing so they threaten the livelihoods of the people who give it life.”
And while it would impossible to take down every single pirate site, it is worth noting that the MPAA scored a recent win in the long legal battle against isoHUNT, a BitTorrent index that contained infringing material.