Those pesky Canadians...
A press release issued yesterday by the Entertainment Software Association calls on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to provide support to the video game industry in its ongoing struggle with software piracy. The ESA, of course, represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers.
Citing what he calls "persistent problems" in Canada, China, Malaysia, Russia, and parts of Europe, ESA CEO Michael Gallagher said:
Countries that support computer and video game piracy discourage publishers from establishing viable and legitimate markets... In 2007, our industry had a record-breaking year with receipts totaling $18.85 billion, but piracy closes off promising markets, artificially limiting our industry’s ability to contribute even more economic growth to the American high-tech economy and economies of our trading partners.
The ESA makes reference to a report issued by the International Intellectual Property Alliance which cites online piracy as well as factory production of discs, Internet cafe piracy, game cartridge counterfeiting and file trading. Regarding Canada, the ESA press release alleges:
Pirated copies of games and circumvention devices have permeated retail markets in Canada, due to legal deficiencies and that [IP] enforcement remains a low priority for public officials.
GP: We note that the IIPA report does not cite a figure for pirated entertainment software in Canada. The organization does, however, report a loss of $511 million worth of business software in the Canadian market in 2007.
Other nations highlighted for IP theft issues by the ESA include China, Malaysia, Russia, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Brazil, Paraguay and India. Said the ESA's Gallagher:
We look forward to working with USTR and other supporting government agencies to achieve tangible results and hopefully succeed in lowering piracy in these key countries. Freeing these markets from the pirates’ stranglehold will also help empower a local video game economy.
A similar report from the ESA was released in February, 2007 (see: ESA Part of Group Seeking to Blacklist Canada).