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May 30, 2013 | International

U.S. Government Announces Formal Investigation of Ukraine For Failure To Protect Intellectual Property Rights

Music Collection Societies Undermined, Online Piracy Hubs Unchecked, Prompts Investigation

WASHINGTON – The Acting U.S. Trade Representative, Miriam Sapiro, announced today that the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office was initiating an investigation of Ukraine’s failure to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property, under the U.S. government’s Special 301 authority.  Three areas were identified as prompting the investigation, including two of particular importance to the U.S. music community — Internet piracy and the non-transparent and unfair administration and operation of copyright collecting societies.  Failure by the government of Ukraine to address these inadequacies could lead to the imposition of trade sanctions and the removal of trade preferences.

“We applaud the determination of Ambassador Sapiro and her staff in initiating this investigation.  The Ukrainian government should move quickly to address the causes that lead to this investigation in the first place and avert possible sanctions,” said Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, RIAA.

“For far too long, Ukraine has tolerated, and in some instances even encouraged, the establishment of conditions that undermine the protection of legitimate property interests to the great detriment of US, Ukrainian and other cultural communities,” Turkewitz added.  “Legitimate collecting societies that represent U.S. and other rightholders have lost their accreditation, throwing collection into disarray.  The government has remained passive in the face of ubiquitous and centralized Internet piracy, operated by distribution hubs such as, already noted as a ‘notorious market’ by the trade representative.  We of course have no interest in punishing Ukraine through the imposition of trade sanctions, but it is long overdue for the Ukrainians to promote the rule of law and live up to their international obligations.  Such a course is in its own economic and cultural interests.”