Every year copyright holders get the opportunity to make anti-piracy recommendations for the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 report.
The report gets published on an annual basis and identifies countries that, in the eyes of the US, are not doing enough to put a stop to copyright infringement.
Nintendo has submitted a letter, written by Jacqualee J. Story, Executive Vice President of Business Affairs, with plenty of facts and figures showing how it is suffering major losses at the hands of video game pirates. In the letter the company said the damage has been much greater in recent years.
Nintendo, along with its publishers and developers, is injured by the prevalence and ease of illegal online distribution, as well as the continued manufacture, assembly, distribution, import, export and sale of counterfeit Nintendo video game products across the globe.
In the past few years, the scope of online piracy for Nintendo has grown dramatically. Every month tens of thousands of illegal Nintendo game files are detected on the Internet. The legal environment to limit the flow of these files remains extremely challenging.
The company says it wants the government to add Mexico, Brazil, China and Spain to its copyright watch list this year, and has made some recommendations that it believes should take place in each of the countries. According to Nintendo, these four nations have a high prevalence of video game piracy, and do not do enough to enforcement copyright law.
Nintendo singled out Brazil in particular as a key culprit, and makes several recommendations as to what should be done to tackle the problem. It wants new laws to be adopted and for them to be strictly enforced. It also wants internet service providers to take responsibility for facilitating piracy under some circumstances and wants them to be required to remove infringing content when notified.
Other recommendations for Brazil include:
Publicize legal actions and raids taken against infringers, especially for online piracy, to increase awareness and deterrence.
Bring criminal prosecutions of major infringers, including those facilitating piracy on the Internet. The courts must impose stronger penalties against IP crimes (both traditional forms of piracy and online piracy) to raise awareness and foster deterrence.
China's exporting policy also comes under scrutiny from Nintendo, with one of the key recommendations being:
Customs at export must actively seize illegal products – especially illegal circumvention devices leaving China for shipping abroad. The national government must place greater emphasis and dedicate increased resources to improving customs’ ability to halt the exportation of infringing items.
For Spain, Nintendo wants the US government to alter Spanish legislation - something it has been involved in with recent copyright law developments. It recommends Spain reform the penal code to include new amendments that should help tackle pirates.
Nintendo also wants Spain’s Intellectual Property Commission to block foreign file-sharing sites, which are harbouring pirated downloads.
Possibly the most bizarre thing about this is that many of the recommendations have not even been carried out on US soil. While copyright holders are demanding illegal sites be blocked in foreign nations, people in the US can gain access to these sites without any issues.
What are your thoughts on video game piracy, and the best way to tackle it? Do you approve of the recommendations Nintendo has made? Let us know in the comments section below.