The United States has pointed their finger at counterfeit and piracy sites including the Chinese search engine Baidu and The Pirate Bay.
The American Trade Office (USTR) has published a list of "notorious markets" implicated in the violation of copyright laws and which assist in piracy. These markets can be either physical or present on the Web. The United States has announced no sanctions against these markets, but has assisted the relative authorities in providing information about the activities so that the relevant actions can be taken.
Among the designated markets, we find Baidu – the most widely used search engine in China. This isn’t the first time Baidu has been criticised by Western countries. This has previously been the case with the musical industry. In their report (PDF), the USTR criticized the portal for displaying links which directed users to counterfeit material often hosted on third party sites.
Another major Chinese Internet player, e-commerce site Taobao – who is similar to eBay and is owned by Alibaba – has also been caught up. The USTR concedes that Taobao has made a significant effort to limit the presence of counterfeit products on their site, but they still have a long way to go.
In their non-exhaustive list, the USTR didn’t forget to mention sites that index BitTorrent files. Not surprisingly, we find The Pirate Bay whose co-founders have been the object of legal proceedings in Sweden and who have been condemned to prison sentences in addition to paying 5 million Euros in damages and interest.
Besides The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt who is based in Canada has also been named, with the site currently being investigated (in the USA and Canada), Btjunkie (a torrent linking site), kickasstorrents and torrentz.com. BitTorrent trackers are also included: Rutracker (Russia), Demonoid (Ukraine), Publicbt, zamunda and openbittorrent (a decentralised tracker project).
We can also note the presence of TV Ants in this list, with the P2P service being operated from China and responsible for broadcasting sporting events live. Another notable presence is vKontakte, the Russian Facebook known for allowing the illegal downloading of musical files.
Could these sites soon be looking at new legal problems?