Report Notes Harm to U.S. Business, Workers from Counterfeiting, Piracy

Commercial-scale copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting are harming businesses and workers, according to a report released recently by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The 2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy notes that piracy and counterfeiting cause significant financial losses for U.S. rights holders and legitimate businesses. The illicit activities on the notorious markets list (NML) also undermine critical U.S. comparative advantages in innovation and creativity to the detriment of American workers, and pose significant risks to consumer health and safety, the report concludes.

The 2021 NML highlights prominent examples of online and physical markets that reportedly engage in, facilitate, turn a blind eye to, or benefit from substantial piracy or counterfeiting. A goal of the NML is to motivate appropriate action by the private sector and governments to reduce piracy and counterfeiting.

For 2021, the report examines the adverse impact of counterfeiting on workers involved with the manufacture of counterfeit goods. The illicit nature of counterfeiting requires coordination between relevant actors, including intellectual property (IP) rights holders, labor organizations, workers’ rights associations, and government enforcement agencies in order to effectively uncover and combat labor violations in counterfeiting operations around the globe.

The NML also includes sections on positive developments, online markets, and physical markets. The positive developments section identifies actions that governments and private entities have taken this past year to reduce piracy and counterfeiting. The online markets and physical markets sections highlight markets that require further actions.

According to the NML list, 42 online markets and 35 physical markets are reported to engage in or facilitate substantial trademark or copyright piracy.

Full report and listing of the notorious markets is available on the USTR website.

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling