The Office of the United States Trade Representative [USTR] has named China’s largest search engine, Baidu, Inc. (BIDU), in a list of the world’s top marketplaces for pirated and counterfeit goods, fueling U.S. business community hopes for more action in the U.S. Congress against “notorious markets and rogue websites.”
The USTR’s office said in its “Review of Notorious Markets Report“, launched on October 1, 2010, that Baidu Inc. — which recently ranked as the number one most visited site in China, and among the top 10 in the world — exemplifies the problem of online services that use “deep linking” to direct buyers to “allegedly infringing materials.”
Deep links take a web user directly to a page within a website for a pirated download without first going to the website’s home page.
While no action was threatened in the USTR’s report against Baidu and a number of other Chinese marketplaces, both on and off the web, it said a host of other sites, including China’s largest retail website Taobao, smartphone applications host 91.com and more than 20 shopping districts such as the Silk Market in Beijing and Pantip Plaza in Bangkok were “notorious markets” openly selling PCs with illegal OS software and other unlawfully pre-installed software.
“Industry reports that personal computer malls throughout China, such as Hailong PC Mall in Beijing and Yangpu Yigao Digital Square in Shanghai, sell computers with illegal operating system software and other unlawfully pre-installed software,” USTR said. “Shenzhen and Guangzhou provinces are reportedly home to dozens of markets offering counterfeit or pirated goods.”
The USTR urged in its report the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting in these and similar markets and to use the information contained in the report to pursue legal actions where appropriate.
“Piracy and counterfeiting undermine the innovation and creativity that is vital to our global competitiveness,”said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “These notorious markets not only hurt American workers and businesses, but are threats to entrepreneurs and industries around the world.”
While the markets named in the report spanned the globe (you can view a copy of the list here), – shopping districts in Ecuador, Paraguay, Indonesia, Argentina, Hong Kong, India, Ukraine were included, as were websites in a number of other countries — Chinese offenders were the most numerous on the list.