Pakistan placed on US top copyrights pirates list: Report

Published: May 1, 2012

Lack of protection for brand names and copyrights is a pertinent problem persisting in the country.

WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday put Pakistan, along with Russia and China on its annual list of trading partners with the worst records of preventing theft of copyrighted material and failure to protect other intellectual property rights (IPR), the US Trade Representative said in a newly released report.

Pakistan, India, Argentina, and Canada were put on the “priority watch list,” along with Algeria, Chile, Indonesia, Israel, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.

“This year’s Special 301 Report is more significant than ever in light of recent US Government data showing that IP-intensive industries support as many as 40 million American jobs and up to 60 percent of US exports,” US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.

The list is a review of the 77 trading partners of US, and are examined for IPR protection and enforcement . Countries that have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices and whose acts, policies, or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on the relevant US products are designated as “Priority Foreign Countries.”

Placement of a trading partner on the Priority Watch List or Watch List indicates that particular problems exist in that country with respect to IPR protection, enforcement, or market access for persons relying on IPR. Countries placed on the Priority Watch List are the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.

The priority watch list carries no threat of sanctions, but hopes to shame governments into cracking down on piracy and counterfeiting and updating their copyright laws.

Explaining why Pakistan has been placed on the list, the report said “widespread counterfeiting and piracy, particularly book and optical disc piracy, continue to present serious concerns for US industry.”

Offering suggestions on improving the situation, it said “Pakistan should provide ex officio authority to its enforcement officials, and should provide for deterrent-level penalties for criminal IPR infringement.” It also urged Pakistan to reform its copyright laws.

Russia, China on Priority watch lists

Canada, among the North American Free Trade Agreement nations along with Mexico and the United States, made the list for the fourth consecutive year, partly for failing to reform their copyright laws.

It was Russia’s 16th straight year on the list, according to a tally kept by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a US business group.

China has been on the priority watch list for eight years and subject to a special monitoring program under Section 306 of US trade law since the late 1990s.

USTR placed Ukraine on the priority watch list for the first time since 2007.

Ukraine has made “minimal progress” in implementing a 2010 action plan to reduce piracy and counterfeiting and “in some cases took steps backward,” USTR said.

Kirk congratulated Malaysia and Spain for being removed from a lower level watch list that includes 27 countries this year.

Those are Belarus, Bolivia Brazil, Brunei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Malaysia was dropped from the watch list in recognition of steps it has taken to strengthen protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and for issuing regulations to protect pharmaceutical test data, USTR said.

Spain was removed from the watch list after adopting regulations to combat piracy over the Internet, USTR said.

USTR said Canada’s place on the priority watch list was “subject to review” if Ottawa enacts long-awaited copyright legislation. The report urged Canada to take stronger action to fight piracy over the Internet and to give its customs officials increased authority to seize counterfeit goods at the border.

Reader Comments (15)

  • Saleem
    May 1, 2012 - 11:54AM

    Top of every black list. What a great achievement. Every Pakistani should feel proud.

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  • SK - Salman
    May 1, 2012 - 1:29PM

    @Saleem: Nowhere does it say that Pakistan tops the list. It just says that “Pakistan, India, Argentina, and Canada were put on the “priority watch list,” along with Algeria, Chile, Indonesia, Israel, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.” Why this self-hate and why put Pakistan in more negative light than is necessary???? Pakistan cannot control many of its’ stuff and cannot regulate many of its’ operations, and copyright is one of those areas, but by no means do we top the list. China, India, and Russia are big players in this area, and the list includes Canada, Israel, Venezuela, and many others. Do you ever protest when the “World” fails to note the achievements of Edhi???? Even though he deserves Nobel Prize for his achievements. But, you jump to thump on being placed on Copyrights list.

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  • Tariq
    May 1, 2012 - 2:51PM

    Its called the priority watch List and Pakistan is not on top or anything. The list contains 13 countries including Russia , China , India and even Canada. Not that Alarming i guess.

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  • Observer's Eye
    May 1, 2012 - 3:08PM

    I’m swollen with Pride!

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  • May 1, 2012 - 3:21PM

    I skimmed through all the report and couldn’t find Pakistan on “Top of the List”, merrily surprised. I am wondering who compiled this article, possible GEO news connections ? maybe.

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  • Saleem
    May 1, 2012 - 3:22PM

    Dear SK-Salman,
    I take your point. But the fact is that we blame the rest of the world for all our problems. We need reflection and introspection and not burying our heads in sand. People like Edhi are well respected around the world and rightly so. The problem is that for every Edhi there are a thousand crooks giving an overwhelming negative publicity. That is our problem and we need to recognise, accept and then fix it. No one else will.

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  • Nawab
    May 1, 2012 - 5:14PM

    United States is only looking after the interests of its own businesses. Why do the whole world respect US PATENTS when they were granted to be used in United States to begin with? China has developed by not caving into the demands of United States. The only chance Pakistan has is by doing the same.

    Why should our people pay the exorbitant prices so US business can have fat profits?

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  • Ikram Ullah
    May 1, 2012 - 6:05PM

    Its good that Pakistan is on that list. You know why, because due to this piracy Pakistanis can afford using Windows, Studying from University level books because if piracy was not there than we had to buy books for 3000 Rs instead of 300 Rs. So this is one thing that I am happy for.

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  • Disocstu
    May 1, 2012 - 10:52PM

    I think they are more concerned about the millions of movies and songs we download illegally. Even if you don’t download, the stuff you buy is also illegal. You cannot legitimately buy movies or music in Pakistan.

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  • A.Khan
    May 2, 2012 - 2:17AM

    Well India and China are not special too. It has not been too long when they were at the highest ranking of Copyrights pirates. They have improved so should we from now on. People have to implement it at their level rather than waiting for govt. taking some actions.

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  • dv sikka
    May 2, 2012 - 7:22AM

    What an accomplishment.

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  • KH
    May 2, 2012 - 3:36PM

    I am very much sure, that most of us commenting here have once in their life time has used a pirated copy of windows. It mostly happens when you are a student and dont have enough cash to spare. And simply cant go on buying windows, adobe, HTML designers, office etc.

    These list will be made always, since the business doesnot want to loose, but in countries like ours, where there is keen interest in learning the new technologies and the per capita income is way too low, this will keep on happening. For us there is a brighter side, that people are interested in learning new stuff…

    So please dont pretend to have a clean past…

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  • Interconnect Partners
    May 3, 2012 - 6:45PM

    Honorable Ron Kirk Pakistan Office of IPO an affiliate of WIPO, Geneva just had world IPR day on April 26, 2012 with a large audience from the IPR community.
    Pakistan has more lawyers, consultants on IPR, trade mark, and patents and observed well among the common people of Pakistan.
    We have one of the most knowledgeable public in business and finance about IPR, trade marks, and patents.

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  • Reader
    May 3, 2012 - 10:20PM

    Dear Sir/madam, Copyright means right to copy?????

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  • nas
    May 4, 2012 - 6:42PM

    Just had my laptop repaired from a shop here in sydney, Australia where a Bangladeshi Tech Guy installed a pirated windows 7 on it. I mentioned this thing to him and he said its simply very expensive to buy one and he charged me 60$ for the whole repair including installation.

    So its not only in Pakistan, It happens everywhere,

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