Notorious Markets List Focuses Fight Against Global Piracy and Counterfeiting of American Products
Notorious Market List – America’s innovative and creative industries support roughly $775 billion in merchandise exports annually and 40 million jobs here at home. The markets we have identified unfairly take from these American workers, diminishing the value and salability of their work and threatening their jobs. And some of the counterfeit goods sold in the identified physical markets, from medicines and personal care products to automotive parts, can even threaten the health and safety of consumers. The marketplaces identified here warrant the immediate attention of our trading partners.
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced the findings of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets for 2013, which identifies markets around the world that harm American businesses and undermine our workers, through the infringement of intellectual property rights (IPRs). This annual review identifies both online and physical marketplaces engaging in commercial-scale IPR infringement.
Trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy on a commercial scale cause significant financial losses for rights holders and legitimate businesses, undermine critical U.S. comparative advantages in innovation and creativity to the detriment of American workers, and can pose significant risks to consumer health and safety. The Notorious Markets List (“List”) identifies select online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial piracy and counterfeiting.
The Notorious Market List identifies online markets by the domain name provided in the public responses to the Federal Register request. However, it is common for operators of notorious online markets to change a site’s domain name or to use multiple domain names at once to direct users to their site. The List reflects each market’s most commonly referred to or well-known domain name or names.
The 2013 Notorious Market List of online marketplaces includes examples of various technologies and business models. We focused our review not on the technology or business model but on whether a nominated site appears to engage in or facilitate intellectual property infringement.
In most cases, the Notorious Market List identifies online markets by the domain name provided in the public responses to the Federal Register request. However, it is common for operators of notorious online markets to change a site’s domain name or to use multiple domain names at once to direct users to their site. The Notorious Market List reflects each market’s most commonly referred to or well-known domain name or names.
Aiseesoft.com: Rights holders indicate that this site’s operators, reportedly based in China, develop and make available to customers worldwide various “high-quality” DVD converter tools, video converter tools, and a DVD and video converter suite that, according to the site, allow users to circumvent technical protection measures and view video content in an unauthorized manner. (Notorious Market List)
Baixedetudo.net: This website, hosted in Sweden, but targeted at the Brazilian market, is aptly named “Download Everything.” The site provides links to infringing music as well as software codes and programs that have been “cracked” (stripped of technological protection measures). (Notorious Market List)
Darkwarez.pl: According to submissions received as part of our review, this Poland-based site offers links to a wide variety of content including nearly 150,000 links to sites where users can play unauthorized video games. The number of links offered through the site has tripled since Darkwarez.pl was nominated for, but not included in, the 2012 Notorious Market List. (Notorious Market List)
Ex.ua: This Ukraine-based, one-click hosting site allows users to download or stream a full range of infringing content, including music, television programming, movies, books, and software. It is one of the twenty most popular websites in Ukraine. Enforcement actions undertaken against the site in 2012 by Ukrainian authorities were halted as a result of political criticism and popular opposition. No further enforcement actions have been taken and the site reportedly continues to monetize infringing content. (Notorious Market List)
Extratorrent.cc (formerly Extratorrent.com): Also based in Ukraine, this site offers music, movies (including camcorded first-run films), software, and a wide variety of other content. The site offers millions of files and is ranked 324th worldwide by Alexa.com.2 It has been the subject of successfully concluded enforcement actions in several jurisdictions but continues to operate under different domain names. The prevalence of this and the Ex.ua site reportedly are having a negative impact on the development of legitimate sales channels for copyright-protected content within Ukraine and in other markets (for example, according to Alexa.com, Extratorrent.cc ranks 75th in website popularity among users in India). (Notorious Market List)
Free-tv-video-online.me (formerly Projectfree.tv): This site, reportedly hosted in Canada, provides links to unauthorized copies of first-run movies and television programs. This site has a worldwide Alexa rank of 580. The current operator, who reportedly changed the site’s domain name to avoid seizure, also changes the site host regularly to avoid enforcement action. (Notorious Market List)
KickassTorrents.com (also operating as Kickass.to; formerly listed as Kat.ph): This torrent site is among the most popular in the world, allegedly second only to The Pirate Bay, as a location for accessing copyright-infringing content. Reportedly based in Canada, the site operators have changed the domain name numerous times to avoid or recover from enforcement actions. (Notorious Market List)
Kuaibo.com (QVOD Technology): According to public statements by its founder, QVOD Technology was launched in 2007 to provide online solutions for small and medium-sized websites that wished to provide video content while avoiding the infrastructure costs and licensing fees associated with the authorized distribution of films and television programs. QVOD has become a leading facilitator of wide-scale distribution of copyright-infringing content and of other content considered illicit in China. According to the founder, as of mid-2012, the QVOD software, which facilitates unauthorized access to access copyright-protected materials, has been installed on over 25 million computers. QVOD (and Baidu.com, which offers similar services) have been the targets of recent enforcement actions by Chinese industry and the Government of China. (Notorious Market List)
Mp3skull.com: United Kingdom (“U.K.”) authorities recently took action against this BitTorrent indexing site. According to authorities, the site facilitates the streaming and downloading of illegal music files. Users are also able to use this “search engine” to locate other services that facilitate the unauthorized distribution of copyright-protected content. (Notorious Market List)
Putlocker.com: This file hosting site or “cyberlocker,” which has been the subject of enforcement action by U.K. authorities, offers both streaming and downloading of extremely large video files. Since its launch in 2010, Putlocker.com has become one of the most popular streaming hubs in the world, and is ranked in the top 320 by Alexa.com. Although the site operator has reportedly ceased the previous practice of compensating users for uploads and has instituted a relatively quick notice and takedown process, the site continues to make available significant amounts of pirated content. (Notorious Market List)
Rapidgator.net: This cyberlocker was originally hosted in the U.K. but moved to Russia after U.K. enforcement officials shut it down. It continues to operate and, although its popularity appears to be declining, it remains in the top 500 sites worldwide, according to Alexa.com. (Notorious Market List)
Rutracker.org (formerly Torrents.ru): Russia-based Rutracker.org is a BitTorrent tracking site that facilitates the uploading and downloading of pirated content. As of late January 2014, Alexa.com ranked the site 13th in Russia and in the top 240 worldwide. However, recent reports indicate that the site may have been the subject of enforcement action. The site remains in the Notorious Market List, but will be considered for a possible change in status during the 2014 review. (Notorious Market List)
Seriesyonkis.com: This linking and streaming site for first-run movies and television programs is extremely popular in Spain and in Latin America, with an Alexa.com rank of 40 in Spain and in the top 150 in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru and the Dominican Republic. The 2011 indictment that precipitated the shutdown of Megaupload.com also named Seriesyonkis.com. Seriesyonkis.com continues to grow both in the amount of pirated content it makes available and in popularity. Popular sites in Spain that provide unauthorized music streaming and linking include Pordescargadirecta.com (linking) and Goear.com (streaming). (Notorious Market List)
Share-rapid.cz: In the Czech Republic, a Czech director won a judgment of approximately $26,000 against Share-rapid.cz for illegal distribution of one of his movies, a verdict that was upheld on appeal. Although the site’s popularity appears to be diminishing, it remains one of the most active in the Czech Republic. (Notorious Market List)
SlySoft.com: SlySoft.com, based in Antigua and Barbuda, sells software that removes region coding and other technological protection measures from optical disks so they can be viewed and copied without the authorization of copyright holders. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda charged SlySoft.com’s owner with criminal violations of anti-circumvention laws. While prosecution is pending, SlySoft.com continues to distribute its software worldwide. (Notorious Market List)
ThePirateBay.se: Despite the criminal conviction of its founders, Sweden-based The Pirate Bay continues to navigate the globe and the country code top level domain (ccTLD) system to facilitate user downloading of unauthorized copyright-protected content. In December 2013, the site changed ccTLDs five times. According to press reports, the operators have registered dozens of domain names and continue to search for a permanent home after being swiftly shut down by government authorities in several countries, most recently in Peru, Chile, and Guyana. At last report, the operators have returned the site registration to Sweden. In addition, the site released its own web browser designed to evade network controls and reportedly has plans to offer software to circumvent conventional methods of enforcement. Network security experts have criticized The Pirate Bay for failing to follow security best practices in the development of their software. (Notorious Market List)
Torrentz.eu (formerly torrentz.com): This site is a major aggregator (meta-search engine) of results from other BitTorrent search engines. Alexa.com ranks it among the top 160 most visited sites in the world. Torrentz operators use several domain names to direct users to their site. Some reports place the site in Canada while others identify Finland as the host. (Notorious Market List)
Uploaded.net (formerly uploaded.to): This Netherlands-based site is a download hub that incentivizes users, through payments and commissions on new memberships, to upload large files typically indicative of motion pictures and television programs. The predecessor site became a destination for former Megaupload.com users after that site was taken down in 2011. The site operators upgraded their servers to accommodate the traffic but prevented users with U.S. Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to access the site reportedly in an effort to limit the site’s exposure to law enforcement. Industry cites an 80 percent increase in the number of users accessing the site during the past year; Alexa.com statistics confirm a dramatic increase in user traffic. The current operator reportedly utilizes multiple combinations of IP addresses, domain names and server locations to evade law enforcement. (Notorious Market List)
vKontakte.com (also operating as vK.com): The Russian site vKontakte.com, in the Notorious Market List since 2011, is styled primarily as a social networking site, and it is extremely popular in Russia and surrounding countries. While as a general matter, social networking sites can serve many salutary purposes, this site’s business model appears to include enabling the unauthorized reproduction and distribution, including streaming, of music and other content through the site and associated software applications. (Notorious Market List)
Wawa-mania.ec: This site reportedly hosts numerous private streaming spaces and “warez” boards (bulletin boards providing information about and access to unauthorized software). Alexa.com ranks the site among the top 250 in France, although we understand that the servers are located elsewhere. French authorities filed charges against the site owner but were unable to prosecute him as he has reportedly left the country. (Notorious Market List)
Xunlei.com/Kankan.com: Xunlei.com reportedly facilitates the downloading and distribution of pirated music, movies, and other content, not only through deep-linking services, but also by offering cyberlocker facilities and its own innovative high-speed peer-to-peer file sharing system. According to industry reports, Xunlei’s Kankan.com offers unlicensed content on demand for paid members, although it has begun to offer access to increasing amounts of licensed content. On a positive note, Xunlei.com has shut down its previously-listed notorious market Gougou.com. (Notorious Market List)
Zamunda.net (also operating as Zamunda.se and Zelka.org) and Arenabg.com: These Bulgarian-operated sites are among the most visited pirate sites not only in Bulgaria, but in the region. They offer a wide range of pirated content including movies, music, software, and electronic games. In late 2012, four of Arenabg.com’s Bulgarian operators were convicted and fined approximately $662 each; however, the site remains operational and reportedly has been moved to servers located in Canada. In 2013, a Bulgarian appeals court set aside some of the convictions because the seven-year statute of limitations had expired before the trial court’s decision was finalized. At present, a criminal case against operators of Zamunda.net is ongoing. A version of Zamunda.net and its mirror site, Zamunda.se, remain operational and are now hosted in Switzerland. The original Zamunda is now called Zelka.org and continues to be hosted in The Netherlands. (Notorious Market List)
Zing.vn: Vietnam-based Zing.vn, primarily a social media site, continues to operate an infringing deep-linking music portal, which attracts large numbers of users to the site. Although Zing.vn’s operators maintain that they have been in negotiations to legitimize its content distribution, discussions have not yielded significant results to date. In January 2014, a U.S.-based publisher of Vietnamese music filed a copyright infringement case in U.S. district court against VNG, the company that operates the Zing.vn website, and its principal investor, the U.S.-based venture capital firm IDG Ventures Vietnam. (Notorious Market List)
External link and credits :