Last week, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released the “2016 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” report which features physical and online markets around the globe that are engaged in and facilitate copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. The report also includes examples of previously identified notorious markets that have taken successful steps toward fighting piracy and counterfeiting.
After a four-year absence from the list, an Alibaba Group platform — Taobao.com — appears on this year’s list as an "important concern" of US and global rights holders. The Alibaba Group claims that it has eliminated almost 400 million product listings and closed nearly 200,000 Taobao stores over a recent 12-month period. Alibaba’s enforcement policy for marketplace sellers has also been narrowed from four strikes to three strikes. World Trademark Review reports that Alibaba’s CEO Daniel Zhang sent employees a “strongly worded” email urging them to persist in the “all-out war against counterfeits.” The full text of the email is available here.
The report’s recommendations for Alibaba are: “(1) simplifying processes for right holders to register and request enforcement action; (2) making good faith takedown procedures generally available; and (3) reducing Taobao’s timelines for takedowns and issuing penalties for counterfeit sellers."
Back in September, multiple industry trade groups declaring that Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting efforts have failed so far. The Union des Fabricants, the French Federation of Leather Goods, and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry say Alibaba’s efforts, including anti-counterfeiting hires, have not succeeded in reducing the number of counterfeit sales.
Amongst the other websites cited in the report for high levels of counterfeiting are China’s GongChang, Vietnam’s e-commerce platform Muaban, and Chinese domain registrar Nanjing Imperiosus.
Upon release of the list, Ambassador Michael Froman said: “The 2016 list underscores the need for accountable governments everywhere to take on these forms of piracy and counterfeiting at every stage of the global supply chain to prevent final products that put health and safety of end-consumers at risk.”
The report also includes a look at the emerging trend of stream ripping, which is an unauthorized conversion of a file from a licensing streaming service site, like YouTube, into an unauthorized copy for download. One of the most popular websites that enables stream ripping — YouTube-mp3.org — was added to this year’s notorious markets list.
You can access the full 2016 Notorious Markets Report here.
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