The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus released its watch list of countries it says are not doing enough to protect U.S. intellectual property Thursday and took particular aim at firms that allow ads to be placed on sites offering pirated content or counterfeit goods.
"We are calling on responsible advertisers, search engines, Internet service providers, and other parts of the internet ecosystem to work with us to protect the hard work of American creators from piracy," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of the House co-chairmen of the group, said in a statement.
Companies that provide online advertisements on websites were criticized at a House hearing earlier this year for not doing enough to ensure their ads are not placed on sites that offer illegal content or goods. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday aimed at cracking down on such websites, while House Judiciary leaders are working on their own bill on the issue.
The caucus called on five countries -- Canada, China, Russia, Spain and Ukraine -- to do more crack down on piracy and counterfeiting.
"The American music, film, software, gaming, and publishing industries are among America's top exporters, and millions of jobs depend on their continued international leadership," the caucus report said. "Americans must not be forced to subsidize the content that others steal. Likewise American businesses should not be forced to compete with foreign companies that cut production costs by using pirated software or scientific articles."
Canada was criticized again for failing to update its intellectual property laws to reflect the growing problem of online piracy. The group praised China for doing a better job of enforcing IP rights and for making certain commitments such as a pledge to do more to ensure Chinese government agencies are using legal software. "Yet, until specific action is taken, widespread piracy will continue severely damaging American content industries," the caucus said.
Russia, Spain and Ukraine were criticized for failing to do enough to curb on online piracy. The group said Ukraine in recent years "has increasingly become a hub for infringing online content."
The caucus list provides a narrower look at what other countries are doing to protect U.S. intellectual property than the annual report on the same topic released by the U.S. Trade Representative and only focuses on places where piracy has reached alarming levels, the group said.