Publishers Unite to Tackle Copyright Priorities in International Trade

February 15, 2004
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February 15-29, 20004 Edition

Publishers Unite to Tackle Copyright

Priorities in International Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C./2/13/04—The Association of American Publishers (AAP) joined with fellow members of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) in a report submitted today to the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Zoellick, outlining the U.S. copyright industries’ global priorities for 2004 and identifying the most serious copyright piracy and market access problems around the world.

IIPA’s review of 56 countries and the recommendations growing out of that review were undertaken to assist USTR in carrying out its mandate under the “Special 301” provision of the Trade Act of 1974. Special 301 requires USTR to identify foreign countries where abuses of U.S. intellectual property rights are particularly egregious. Through the IIPA, the Association of American Publishers provides data on copyright piracy affecting American books and journals, and market access problems faced by U.S. publishers around the world.

In the report issued today, the Alliance designated two countries, Pakistan and Ukraine, for placement on the “Priority Foreign Country” list for the most serious violations of U.S. intellectual property rights. In all, IIPA recommended that 41 countries be placed on an appropriate USTR list. The recommendation that Pakistan be designated a “Priority Foreign Country” was due, in part, to rampant print piracy and illegal photocopying of books, with little effort on the part of the Pakistani government to enforce copyright laws. The People’s Republic of China, where book piracy is a particular concern to American publishers, was recommended for continued monitoring to insure compliance with its existing bilateral commitment to the U.S. with respect to copyright and copyright enforcement under Section 306 of the Trade Act, which provides for virtually immediate trade sanctions for failure to comply with such obligations.

The report designated 17 countries for placement on the Priority Watch list, including India, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, which are areas of special concern for U.S. publishers. Among the 20 countries recommended for the Watch List are Malaysia and Turkey, again particularly troublesome areas for publishers.

AAP President Pat Schroeder noted that “Rampant commercial photocopying and print piracy are decimating markets for both local and foreign books and journal publishers in many areas throughout the world. The Special 301 process gives us a valuable opportunity to assess the difficulties we’ve encountered in the previous year, measure our progress, and designate our global priorities.”

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, computer software, and electronic products and services.

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