India acquired yet another dubious honour on Wednesday, after it was named to an ‘International Piracy Watch List’ by a U.S. government panel that is looking to highlight countries that are doing little to address high rates of digital piracy.
Being put on this Congressional caucus list may have an impact on the ‘out-of-cycle’ intellectual property review that the Office of the U.S Trade Representative will conduct on India later this year.
“That’s why we started the Watch List – to alert those who are profiting by stealing the hard work of American creators and the countries helping them that we are paying attention and we expect our trading partners to protect intellectual property rights,” said U.S Representative Adam Schiff, who is a member of the Congressional caucus, in a statement. The watch list, which also highlights concerns in China, Russia and Switzerland, points out that India continues to present a “seriously flawed environment” for the promotion of copyright and intellectual property.
“The Special 301 Report again lists India as a priority watch nation. Despite a large domestic creative industry in film, music and other copyright intensive industries, India continues to lag badly in both the legal framework for IP protection,” the report said.
“Among continuing issues in India are extremely high rates of camcording piracy, high levels of unlicensed software use by enterprises, and a lack of effective notice-and-takedown procedures for online piracy,” it added.
A new study recently pointed out that online piracy levels in India remained at 60 per cent, with nearly $2.9 billion of unlicensed software being installed in 2013.
According to non-profit organisation BSA, India is second only to China (over $8.7 billion) in the Asia Pacific region in terms of commercial value of unlicensed software sold in 2013.