The Recording Industry Association of America and its partners at the International Intellectual Property Alliance recently submitted their ‘piracy watchlist’ recommendations to the Office of the US Trade Representative. The RIAA pointed to two countries as being the worst of the worst when it comes to intellectual property theft: Spain and our comrades to the north - Canada.
This is particularly interesting because this week Spain passed a tough new law to combat piracy. The Sinde law (nicknamed for its sponsor) is aimed at shutting down file-sharing sites that traffic in illegal downloads. Even though the public and some in the Spanish movie industry opposed the law, it will become the rule of the land by summer, says TorrentFreak. But the RIAA claims this is just a baby step and that even more needs to be done to combat theft.
In their advice to the US Trade Representative, the groups included Spain in the Priority Watch List, the highest category for countries that are considered to be ‘piracy havens’. Spain is joined by Canada, Russia and China. All of these countries are considered major threats to the US entertainment industries.
These new recommendations from the RIAA will be considered by the USTR when it prepares its annual Special 301 Report. The report identifies countries that "obstruct or deny proper copyright enforcement." The RIAA recommended Spain because "file-sharing sites have been ruled as operating within the boundaries of the law."
“The sky-high Internet piracy levels in Spain can be attributed to government policies that have created an Internet-wide safe harbor for infringing activities. Spanish enforcement authorities have established the de facto decriminalization of illegal downloading of content distributed via P2P file-sharing,” the RIAA argues.
Another issue the RIAA wants addressed by Spain is the lack of ability to identify and report copyright infringers: "Spain’s laws fail to meet the minimum requirements of the EU E-Commerce Directive regarding liability for ISPs, or to establish the necessary tools to obtain the identity of the direct infringer," the group claims.
Canada is another candidate for the 2011 priority watch list, according to the RIAA, because of Canada’s slow progress on revising their copyright laws. The RIAA calls our neighbor to the north "home to some of the world’s most popular illegitimate Internet sites, including illegitimate P2P download and streaming sites."
The RIAA and IIPA recommendations include Canada, Spain and 11 other countries on the priority watch list of the 2011 Special 301 Report. We will see who makes the cut in a couple of weeks.