China tops list for online, offline piracy

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk released a report Monday reaffirming China's role as the world's leading source of counterfeit goods - both online and offline.

The "Notorious Markets" report cites four websites and dozens of shopping areas on the mainland and in Hong Kong as hubs of pirated products. But the report also underscores that copyright infringement is a global problem, with Canada, Ecuador, Philippines and Russia (which ranks second after China) among the countries doing brisk business in illicit products.

"The United States urges the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting in these and similar markets, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal action where appropriate," the document states. The list used to be part of a more comprehensive analysis of intellectual property protection known as the "Special 301" report, published annually in late April. For the first time, it has been published as a separate document to highlight the growing piracy problem.

"Some of the sites identified in this report, such as The Pirate Bay or isoHunt, wear this badge with honor," said Neil Turkewitz, executive VP, international, for the Recording Industry Association of America. Those to sites enable illegal downloads of copyrighted music. "Others like Baidu or vKontakte purport to be legitimate but in fact operate network services that include features that intentionally induce the theft of copyrighted music," Turkewitz added in a statement.

To access the entire report, visit the website of the USTR