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US adds WeChat and AliExpress to list of notorious piracy markets

Protecting intellectual property rights “is at the heart of our business,” the statement said. “We take a comprehensive approach, based on industry best practices, to combat counterfeiting and counterfeiting across all of our platforms.”

The bureau said some countries have made progress in cracking down on the sale of counterfeit products, including Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. He also said he has documented a shift in pirated goods from physical to online markets, in part because the pandemic has depressed global tourism.

The report also identified a new ecosystem: “piracy as a service”, in which operators offer website templates, databases of infringing video content or other features that allow customers to set up easily hacking operations.

“The global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods undermines essential American innovation and creativity and harms American workers,” Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, said in a statement. “This illicit trade also increases the vulnerability of workers involved in the manufacture of counterfeit products to abusive labor practices, and counterfeit products can pose significant health and safety risks to consumers and workers around the world.”

The report also examined the impact of counterfeit products on the people who make them, as part of the administration’s focus on how the trade affects workers. Because these companies operate outside the law, counterfeiting and piracy often goes hand in hand with unsafe working conditions, child labor, forced labor and other issues, the trade representative’s office said.

“Counterfeit manufacturing often occurs in clandestine workplaces beyond the reach of labor market regulations and inspection systems, increasing workers’ vulnerability to exploitative labor practices,” the report said.

The report will not result in any immediate sanctions for the companies named, although he said the aim of publishing such a list was to “motivate appropriate action by the private sector and governments”.