On January 12, 2018, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the findings of the 2017 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, also known as the Notorious Markets List (List). The List 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.
This activity harms the American economy by undermining the innovation and intellectual property rights (IPR) of U.S. owners of IPR in foreign markets. Imports in counterfeit and pirated physical products is estimated at nearly half a trillion dollars, or around 2.5% of global imports.
The 2017 Notorious Markets List maintains its special focus on the distribution of pirated content and counterfeit goods online. This year, the report highlights illicit streaming devices as an emerging piracy model of growing concern. The report 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.
Over the past year, some market owners and operators have made efforts to address the widespread availability of pirated or counterfeit goods in their markets. Some governments also continue to institute novel strategies to combat piracy and counterfeiting. These strategies include: voluntary initiatives with advertising networks to cut off financial support for websites devoted to copyright infringement; installing intellectual property enforcement centers on-location in high-priority physical markets; and using skills training to reorient former counterfeit sellers towards operating legitimate businesses. At the same time, we vigilantly monitor marketplaces with a record of piracy and counterfeit goods.
USTR first identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report in 2006. Since February 2011, USTR has published annually the Notorious Markets List separately from the Special 301 Report, pursuant to an “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets,” to increase public awareness and help market operators and governments prioritize IPR enforcement efforts that protect American businesses and their workers.
The Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets identifies particularly notable online and physical markets that facilitate unfair competition with U.S. products. The report does not constitute an exhaustive list of all markets reported to deal in pirated or counterfeit goods around the world, nor does it reflect findings of legal violations or the U.S. Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned. Such analysis is contained in the annual Special 301 Report issued at the end of April each year.