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  • Writer's pictureNick Redfearn

USTR Special 301 report - China, Indonesia and India

Updated: May 7

The US government published its annual 2024 Special 301 report this week. Various anti-piracy concerns about Asian markets are raised. China, India and Indonesia remain on the Priority Watch list, reflecting in part the importance of these large markets as well as IP weaknesses.  Thailand and Vietnam are on the lower tier Watch List. Below is a short summary covering anti-piracy issues for the 3 major markets on the Priority Watch list:


China: major categories of copyright piracy include: online piracy, especially China is a source and exporter of systems that facilitate digital copyright piracy, websites and online platforms containing or facilitating access to unlicensed content, illicit streaming devices (most of which are made in China), and related apps, illegal camcording and live stream theatrical broadcasts, unlicensed software and illegal live sports broadcasts.


An effective ‘level playing field’ enforcement remains elusive, with problems including insufficiently broad criminal digital copyright violation provisions, high documentary and administrative burdens on copyright owners, lack of criminal liability for manufacture, distribution, and export of circumvention devices, as well as weak measures to address online piracy, and uncertainty in the law about protection of sports and other live broadcasts.


China’s position is complicated by market access restrictions, content review processes and security concerns that impede availability of genuine copyright works.


Indonesia: major categories of copyright piracy are: IPTV piracy and illicit streaming, unlicensed software including government use, online piracy and illegal movie camcording.


Enforcement challenges include a lack of enforcement cases and deterrent punishments, as well as the weaknesses in the copyright law covering technological protection measures to protect copyright works and overly complex formalities and documentation requirements. Expanding the IP Enforcement Task Force and better cooperation with the Ministry of Communications for digital issues is noted as necessary to enable more IP enforcement cases.


India: there are high levels of piracy through ISDs and illicit IPTV apps, unauthorized camcords originating from India, and widespread online piracy including unauthorized file sharing of video games, signal theft by cable operators, commercial-scale photocopying and unauthorized reprints of academic books, and circumvention of technological

protection measures.  


Overall IP enforcement remains inadequate due to weak enforcement of IP by police, a lack of familiarity with investigation techniques, and weak coordination among India’s many national- and state-level IP enforcement agencies. There is confusion over CMO roles and functions for copyright owners and no CMO to collect sound recording royalties yet. The implementation of the WIPO internet treaties into Indian law is not complete. The Indian Copyright law needs amendment including its overly broad use exceptions. A specific concern is a proposal to require licenses for ‘internet or digital broadcasters’ which in effect means a good deal of foreign content.  The expansion of the Intellectual Property Division’s of the High Court from Deli to Madras and now Calcutta is a positive step.

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