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Report: Online Counterfeit Sales To Overtake Street Vendors

May 1, 2012
National Journal
By Josh Smith

More counterfeit goods will soon be sold online than on the street, according to the latest report by the U.S. Trade Representative.

The increase in Internet access has led to increased access to counterfeit and pirated goods, the annual Special 301 report noted, a trend that has complicated copyright enforcement.

"For example, in China, although the largest Internet-based sales portals have responded to rights holders' complaints of counterfeit and pirated product listings, and even though major online sellers and distributors seem to be making efforts to ensure that the content available on their websites is legal, more than 75 percent of illicit sellers have reportedly re-listed the infringing goods," the report says.

U.S. officials named 13 countries, including China, Russia, and Canada, to a "priority watch list" for their copyright policies and enforcement. This year's addition was Ukraine.

Business and entertainment industry groups praised the report for highlighting copyright infringement.

"Strong rules and effective enforcement regimes are an essential measure of the climate for companies small and large who wish to conduct business with foreign countries," said Mark Elliot, who oversees the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center.

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