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Chinese Web Sites, Markets Named to ‘Notorious’ List

Issued: January 01 2013

Chinese website Gougou.com shut down shortly after being named to the US Trade Representative’s Review of Notorious Markets.
Nearly a dozen Chinese web sites and physical markets were named to the United States Trade Representative’s Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. The review lists more than 30 internet and physical markets that exemplify marketplaces that deal in infringing goods and services, said USTR Ron Kirk. The results identify examples of marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement actions connected with counterfeiting and piracy, or that may merit further investigation for possible intellectual property rights infringements.

“Piracy and counterfeiting, including online sales of pirated and counterfeit goods, is a problem that hurts the US economy, harms some of this nation’s most creative and innovative entrepreneurs and companies and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle-class American workers,” said Kirk. “We highlight the notorious markets that have a negative impact on legitimate businesses and industries of all sizes that rely on intellectual property to protect their goods and services.”

The Notorious Markets Review identifies particularly infamous markets, and does not constitute an exhaustive list of all notorious markets around the world. Inclusion in the Notorious Markets List does not reflect a finding of a violation of law. Nor does it reflect the United States Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned; such analysis is contained in the annual Special 301 Report issued at the end of April.

Chinese companies named to the list include Xunlei, a site which facilitates the downloading and distribution of pirated music and movies, not only through deep-linking services, but also by offering cyberlocker facilities and through its own innovative high-speed P2P file sharing system, and Paipai, a Chinese language sales platform which has emerged as a new source of pirated and counterfeit goods in China. Paipai’s anti-counterfeiting mechanisms are reportedly ineffective and appear mainly to serve as a superficial gesture, according to the USTR report. Several physical markets in China, including the Buynow PC Mall chain, the Fu’an Footware and Accessory Market in Putian, the Luohu Commercial Center in Shenzhen and the Small Commodities Market in Yiwu.

Gougou, a Chinese website which provided users with deeplinks to infringing music files and torrent links from unauthorized sources, shut down shortly after also being named to the list, according to news reports.

This year’s list also highlights positive developments since the issuance of the previous Notorious Markets Review in December 2011. For example, Chinese site Taobao has worked with rights holders to significantly decrease the listing of infringing products for sale through its website, and has committed to continue working to streamline its complaint procedures to further reduce listings of counterfeit products. Similarly, Chinese website Sogou has been removed from the current list based on reports that it has also made notable efforts to work with rights holders to address the availability of infringing content on its site. “We encourage other Chinese online marketplaces to take similar actions to ensure the timely removal of listings for sales of pirated and counterfeit goods on their sites,” said Kirk.

Vietnam-based social media site Zing.vn, also includes an infringing deeplinking music portal, was also named to the list. Recently, several international companies including Coca-Cola and Samsung pulled advertising from this site after recognizing the infringing nature of its operations, the USTR said, while noting that VNG, Zing’s parent company, is currently in talks with rights holders to obtain the necessary licenses to transition Zing into an authorized digital music platform.

The Harco Glodok market in Jakarta, Nehru Place in New Delhi, the Urdu Bazaars in Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan, and a number of markets in Bangkok, Phuket and Aranyaprathet, Thailand, were also named to the list.

The report also lauded the Philippine government for taking “significant enforcement actions” at Manila’s Quiapo shopping district, which it says has reduced the number of counterfeit and pirated goods available for sale inthis marketplace.

 

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