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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
US issues new warning over piracy
Pirate DVDs
DVD piracy is a global problem
China and Russia have topped a list of 12 nations not doing enough to tackle copyright piracy, according to a US trade report.

The Bush administration placed the 12 on a "priority watch list" which will subject them to extra scrutiny.

The Office of the US Trade Representative said piracy is costing the country billions of dollars.

The US Government has already reported China to the World Trade Organisation over alleged unfair trade practices.

These charge the country with unfairly raising trade barriers and failing to enforce its laws protecting American copyrights and patents.

In addition to Russia and China, the 10 countries placed on the priority watch list were Argentina, Chile, Egypt, India, Israel, Lebanon, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela.

We must defend ideas, inventions and creativity from rip-off artists and thieves
Susan Schwab, US Trade Representative

The annual report, known as a Special 301 Report, for the section of US trade law that it covers, said that China has a special stake in upgrading its protection of intellectual property rights, given that its companies will be threatened by rampant copyright piracy as they increase their own innovation.

For Russia, the report said the US will be closely watching to see how it fulfils the commitments it made to upgrading copyright protection as part of a US - Russia accord reached last year.

This was seen as a key milestone in Russia's efforts to join the World Trade Organisation.

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in a statement accompanying the report: "Innovation is the lifeblood of a dynamic economy here in the U.S. and around the world,

"We must defend ideas, inventions and creativity from rip-off artists and thieves."

The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that it lost about $2.3bn in revenue in China due to pirating in 2005, saying only 10% of DVDs sold there were legal.

Massive losses

"Today's report indicates the scope of global piracy and serves as a sobering reminder of the challenges ahead," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said.

"The strength and competitiveness of our economy is powered by our ideas and creativity."

The US games industry estimates global piracy cost it more than $4bn in 2004, not including losses from net piracy.

Another 31 countries were placed on lower level monitoring lists, indicating the concerns about copyright violations in those nations did not warrant the highest level of scrutiny.

The European Union has also asked to participate in the World Trade Organization talks over issues of copyright and trademark policy in China.

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