The list released by the US Trade Representative (USTR) highlights 25 online markets and 18 physical markets around the world that are reported to be engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.
“Marketplaces worldwide that contribute to illicit trade cause severe harm to the American economy, innovation and workers,” said USTR Robert Lighthizer.
“The Trump Administration is committed to holding intellectual property right violators accountable and intensifying efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy,” he said.
The ‘2017 Notorious Markets List’ maintains its special focus on the distribution of pirated content and counterfeit goods online.
This year’s report highlights illicit streaming devices as an emerging piracy model of growing concern.
It also calls on several e-commerce platforms to improve takedown procedures, proactive measures and cooperation with right holders, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to decrease the volume and prevalence of counterfeit and pirated goods on their platforms.
India’s popular wholesale market Tank Road returns to the list.
“Stakeholders confirm that it remains a market selling counterfeit products, including apparel and footwear. Counterfeit products from Tank Road are also reportedly found in other Indian markets, including Gaffar Market and Ajmal Khan Road,” the report said.
The US encourages India to take sustained and coordinated enforcement action at the Tank Road market, previously-listed markets, and numerous other non-listed markets in its territory, Lighthizer said.
India-based online marketplace with 1.5 million suppliers and over 10 million buyers, IndiaMart facilitates global trade in counterfeit and illegal pharmaceuticals, USTR alleged.
The marketplace disclaims all liability, delays responses and does not facilitate right holders’ attempts to remove listings, it said.
“In contrast, other online marketplaces have instituted good practices such as robust screening systems to limit listings for counterfeit or illegal pharmaceuticals and providing a straightforward process for removing infringing listings,” the report said.
“The domain name registrar that services IndiaMart, Hosting Concepts B V has a general Top Level Domain market share of 304,131 domains of which 2,530 are allegedly rogue Internet pharmacies,” it said.
Globally, China continues to be a primary source of counterfeit products.
“As in past years, several commenters continue to identify China as the primary source of counterfeit products. Some Chinese markets, particularly in larger cities, have adopted policies and procedures intended to limit the availability of counterfeit merchandise, but these policies are not widely adopted, and enforcement remains inconsistent,” it said.
“At the same time, some online markets are cooperating with law enforcement on counterfeiting and piracy operations offline. It is reported that in many instances, Chinese authorities engage in routine enforcement actions in physical markets,” the report said.
Silk Market and Hongqiao Market, both in Beijing along with four other markets figure in the list.
In the virtual world, Dhgate.com is listed in the list along with Taobao.com.
“Created and owned by the Alibaba Group (Alibaba), Taobao.com is China’s largest mobile commerce destination and the third-most popular website in China,” USTR said.
“Alibaba has undertaken efforts, some within the last six months, to curb the offer and sale of infringing products on Taobao.com, and some right holders report an improved outlook as a result.
“At the same time, the prevalence of infringing listings and sales continues to be a challenge and there are additional steps Alibaba must take to address ongoing concerns,” USTR Lighthizer said.
A number of smartphone apps – TVPLUS, TVBROSWER and KUAIKAN – and add-on developers are reportedly operated by related companies in China to provide users around the world with television, live sports, and content protected by copyright and related rights, USTR alleged.
This family of apps has been downloaded more than 64 million times and each download connects users to allegedly pirated content hosted by third parties.
These apps allow viewers in China to stream infringing content on mobile devices or high definition televisions, posing an additional threat to an already fragile market for legitimate over-the-top and online content platforms in China, the USTR said.