Lawmakers list havens for intellectual property theft

Congressional leaders and industry groups on Wednesday named China, Russia, Mexico, Canada and Spain as "top priority countries" in desperate need of tougher intellectual property enforcement.

Those states house five top file-sharing websites — including IsoHunt in Canada and RapidShare in Germany — that assist users in transferring music, movies and software illegally, to the detriment of U.S. business and innovation, noted the Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus, led by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

“The release of this report casts a damning spotlight once again on several nations with lax copyright protections and websites that brazenly traffic in copyright theft,” said Mitch Bainwol, the chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Also joining Baniwol on Wednesday were leaders from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

The caucus's inaugural list of piracy havens arrives about five years and a week after the Supreme Court unanimously shut down Grokster, one of the first and largest peer-to-peer file sharing services.

The specter of that case returned last week, too, when a federal judge found that another, similar site, LimeWire, could be held liable for copyright infringement occurring over its network.