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April 30, 2014 | International

Special 301 Report: RIAA Applauds Italy, Philippines For Action Leading To Their Removal

Progress In Some Countries, But Russia, Switzerland, Other Nations Fail to Implement Adequate IP Protections

Washington – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued its Special 301 Report today identifying foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. RIAA issued the following statement from Executive Vice President, International, Neil Turkewitz.

“We would like to thank the U.S. Trade Representative and all of the U.S. government agencies that participated in the preparation of this report, and to express our appreciation for the many members of Congress that continuously highlight the importance of ensuring that our trading partners provide an environment that protects the legitimate interests of the U.S. creative community. These efforts are a fundamental part of maintaining U.S. economic competitiveness, job creation, and realizing the potential of global digital commerce to enhance societal well-being, creativity and innovation.

“Today’s report reflects positive developments in a number of countries, including Italy which, consistent with RIAA’s submission to USTR as part of the IIPA, has been removed from the ‘Watch List’ in recognition of its pioneering efforts in trying to expand its cultural marketplace by dealing with Internet piracy in a more robust manner. We look to AGCOM to use its new authority in a thoughtful and meaningful manner, allowing a response to Internet piracy in Internet time. This follows on the heels of USTR’s announcement earlier this week that the Philippines has been removed from the Special 301 list. RIAA salutes Italy and the Philippines for recognizing that it owed it to its people, its creative communities and its trading partners to enhance the environment for the protection of intellectual property.

“Protecting creativity in a globally networked environment is an ongoing challenge for every government, including here at home, but there are important distinctions to be made between countries that are seeking to find meaningful solutions and those that are far too complacent in permitting theft. Many of the countries that feature in today’s report have failed to take action against sites identified by USTR as ‘notorious markets,’ or otherwise maintain practices that undermine the ability of creators to earn a living from their craft, threatening global prosperity, economic development and cultural production and diversity. Russia and vKontakte of course immediately come to mind. The Russian government, and more recently vKontakte itself, has undertaken certain reforms aimed at protecting audio-visual materials, and we hope that this will soon be expanded to address music as well. We also highlight developments in Spain intended to address infringement, and wish Spain success and fortitude in addressing a piracy issue that has decimated its cultural sector. Sadly, an awareness of the need to create a more hospitable environment for creators that has propelled action in a Spain and Italy is nowhere in evidence in Switzerland which has inexplicably remained virtually inert in the face of mounting piracy problems and which maintains a legal environment hostile to creators. The time for Switzerland to act is now, and we hope that a year from now we will be singing quite a different tune.”