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April 30, 2015 | International

RIAA Welcomes Special 301 Report

The report targets Russia’s hosting of vKontakte & other illegal sites as a clear example of lax intellectual property laws.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued its annual Special 301 Report identifying acts and practices by U.S. trading partners that deny adequate and effective intellectual property protection.

In response, RIAA issued the following statement from RIAA EVP, International, Neil Turkewitz:

“We thank Ambassador Froman, his talented team at USTR, as well as countless U.S. government officials from various agencies for their dedication in seeking to expand opportunities for legitimate digital commerce by promoting more effective copyright protection in an environment that is distorted by the effects of Internet piracy. Challenges to the growth of a robust online music market that can sustain the creative community come in many forms, and from various sources. These challenges exist in developed and developing markets alike. We note, for example, that the report highlights disparate issues such as Russia playing host to many of the world’s most notorious unlicensed sites such as vKontakte—named in USTR’s ‘notorious markets’ report for five years running. Or the failure of the Chinese market to generate meaningful revenue due to its legacy of permitting infringement to dominate the landscape, and the relative inaction of the Swiss government to create a legal and enforcement framework that would allow action against online piracy. The report calls upon Switzerland to ‘demonstrate its commitment to provide robust copyright protection and to combat online piracy by taking concrete steps to ensure that rights holders can protect their rights.’ We echo that sentiment completely.”

“RIAA members are very excited about the potential of the Internet to transform music delivery and to increase consumer choice, and are helping to lead a digital revolution. However, the economic and cultural potential of this revolution is clouded by the significant disruptions posed by unfair competition which prevent the development of a marketplace that operates under the rule of law. We join with USTR in calling upon all nations to examine their practices carefully, and to take appropriate steps to enhance the level of accountability in the Internet ecosystem so that it sustains creators rather than prejudicing their ability to survive through their craft.”

“We also note that this report—which outlines the various barriers to expanded U.S. commerce as a result of inadequate intellectual property protection—underscores the importance of including unequivocal direction to USTR in Trade Promotion Authority currently being considered by Congress. We hope that Congress will move quickly to adopt The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 as introduced by Senators Hatch and Wyden and Congressman Ryan.”