India on US priority watch list for piracy, IP violations

Piracy, particularly over the Internet, has continued to grow in India over the past year, a new report by the US government has stated, albeit without any reference to gaming.

India has once again made it onto the US government’s priority watch list for its lack of protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), finding itself in the company of Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Venezuela. The report singles out Ukraine as its most urgent concern.

‘India boasts a vibrant domestic creative industry, but the challenge of piracy – particularly over the Internet – continues to grow,’ the US government’s2013 Special 301 Report states, adding that India needs to ‘adopt and implement legislation or improve existing measures to combat illegal optical disc production and distribution.’

The report observes that India has done little to improve its ‘weak’ legal framework for IPR protection, but commended it for the draft National Intellectual Property Strategy as well as its proposed implementation of the Madrid system for common multi-national trademark registrations.

The report makes no direct mention of piracy in gaming; it instead focuses on movie and music piracy.

‘The United States notes limited improvements with respect to IPR enforcement, including reports that enforcement officials cooperate with music industry rights holders in conducting complaint-based raids, and increased use of judicial orders that have strengthened enforcement against pirated movies and music online.’

Those reports relate to cases where film and music companies have been successful in securing controversial ‘John Doe orders’ from courts in the hopes of preventing piracy.

Those orders and their arbitrary implementation drew widespread criticism acrosssocial networks andthe media, with internet service providers blocking entire sites as opposed to simply forcing the takedown of illegal content. The move resulted in sites with legal and original content, such as Vimeo and Dailymotion, being blocked for weeks.

While the US government report commends those actions, it follows it up with caution.

‘In many areas, however, IPR protection and enforcement challenges are growing, and there are serious questions regarding the future condition of the innovation climate in India across multiple sectors and disciplines.’

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