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March 5, 2015 | International

USTR List Highlights 'Notoriously' Repeat Offender VKontakte Among Worst Global IP Offenders

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives have added a new focus on companies that register domain names worldwide.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today announced its 2014 list of ‘notorious markets,’ or illicit rogue sites and services that offer unauthorized music, movies, software and other creative works across the globe. Neil Turkewitz, EVP, International offered the following comment on the report.

“We appreciate USTR taking a good, hard look at rogue sites and services around the world that cause great damage to the U.S. creative industries.

“Specifically, Russian service vKontakte – a ‘notoriously’ repeat offender – continues to plague the U.S. and Russian music industries, enabling massive infringement of hundreds of thousands of music and video files through its sharing functionality and unauthorized music service. It is telling that this site continues to show up on the Administration’s ‘notorious markets’ list. The owners of this company and its investors – which reportedly has eyes on a public offering on Wall Street – should take notice.

“We thank USTR for its new focus on the firms that register domain names. These registrars cannot repeatedly turn a blind eye to rampant piracy occurring on sites they sponsor and blatantly ignore their terms of service — or the terms of their accreditation agreements with ICANN — that govern their relationship with these sites. We believe this issue is ripe for review as we all work toward a safer and more vibrant Internet that works for everyone.”