Baidu is removed from USTR market list
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Baidu is removed from USTR market list

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The USTR’s latest review of so-called “notorious markets” that are rife with counterfeiting and piracy has praised Chinese search engine Baidu for striking a deal with rights owners

The Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets has removed Baidu from the list, as well as Hong Kong’s Ladies Market and Russia’s Savelovskiy Market.

The list does not claim to be comprehensive but is designed to highlight marketplaces, including websites, that are the worst IP infringers.

The list has been published as part of the Special 301 Reports since 2006, but has been published separately since February last year.

The promotion of Baidu highlights the work that Chinese online media businesses have done to move away from a reliance on pirated content.

In July last year Baidu signed a deal with One-Stop China – a joint venture between Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony BMG.

One-Stop China is licensing its catalogue of Chinese and international songs as well as future releases to Baidu.

Hong Kong Customs officials were surprised at the inclusion of the Ladies Market in the February 2011 list, especially as it has had a campaign in place to increase the presence of Customs officers at the market.

“We welcome the removal of the Ladies Market from the list,” said Sandra Tam, superintendant of the IP Investigation Group of Hong Kong Customs. “We have been taking vigorous action at the market all along,” she added.

Other Chinese online media companies including Youku and Tudou have followed similar strategies of trying to move from pirated to legitimate content.

Despite this progress, there are more businesses and marketplaces from China in the list than from any other country.

The Chinese businesses highlighted include: Sogou MP3 and Gougou (for deep-linking to infringing material); Taobao, the online shopping website owned by Alibaba; TV Ants, a peer-to-peer service that retransmits sporting broadcasts; Megaupload, a cyberlocker based in Hong Kong and the Netherlands; and four physical markets including China Small Commodities Market (in Yiwu), the Lo Wu Commercial Center (Shenzhen), PC Malls (a chain of computer malls) and Beijing’s Silk Market, which is in the middle of a long-running battle with a coalition of luxury goods brands over sales of counterfeits.

In the section dealing with online infringement, a number of websites from eastern Europe feature, including BitTorrent indexer Kat.ph, which is based in Canada, Ukraine and Romania, BitTorrent trackers Rutracker and Demonoid (from Russian and Ukraine respectively) and Russian social networking service vKontakte.

The list of physical marketplaces focuses more on South America and Asia, including the La Salada market in Buenos Aires, Nehru Place in New Delhi and Quiapo Shopping District in Manila.

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