US politicians identify 5 pirate nations

Five nations have been singled out by U.S. lawmakers who say the specified countries have showed little effort to stifle widespread piracy.

The bipartisan caucus of more than 50 members of the House of Representatives and Senate targeted the following nations that reportedly don’t do enough to prevent music, movie and software piracy: Canada, China, Mexico, Russia and Spain.  Each nation faces little reprimand from the U.S. due to this piracy, especially China, Mexico and Russia, however, legislators may try to put pressure on Canada and Spain to show more interest in kicking pirates off the Internet.

“We are losing billions and billions of dollars because of the lack of intellectual property protections,” Senator Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) recently said.  “These five countries have been robbing Americans.”

The BSA recently said piracy costs upwards of $51 billion per year, though the number has been highly criticized by PC users.

The lawmakers also criticized several websites that host or link to pirated material:  China’s Baidu, Canada’s isoHunt, Germany’s Rapidshare, Luxembourg’s RMX4U, Sweden’s Pirate Bay, and the Ukrainian MP3fiesta website.  The Pirate Bay was recently taken down again, but the group moved to a new bandwidth provider and the website & services are now up and running again.

Piracy is a major issue for copyright holders, but its stronger ties to the political world has shocked some journalists.  Last spring, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) funded a study that essentially tied film piracy to organized crime and terrorism. Former Attorney General Michael Musakey and others supported the idea.

So what can they do to curb piracy?  Try to put political pressure on countries supporting piracy, while also working with Visa, Mastercard and other credit card/payment services to crackdown on payments related to counterfeit goods.

It still seems like a big waste of time to have all of these politicians and copyright officials meet together just to single out a few nations and websites that support piracy.  Perhaps it would have been good to have members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) present to discuss the matter from a different view point.