The federal government is out today with its annual review of “notorious markets,” which highlights “online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.” And this year, a familiar name is back on the list for the first time since 2012: Alibaba.
The Chinese behemoth’s e-commerce platform Taobao.com “is an important concern due to the large volume of allegedly counterfeit and pirated goods available and the challenges right holders experience in removing and preventing illicit sales and offers of such goods,” according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which put out the report titled “2016 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” (read it here).
Although the report notes that “the Alibaba Group reportedly has taken steps to address right holders’ concerns on Taobao,” the news was not well received at Alibaba. The Associated Press quotes Alibaba Group President Michael Evans as saying the company is “disappointed.” Adding that Alibaba is policing vendors more effectively than the last time Taobao.com made the USTR’s list, he questioned whether the report is “based on actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate.”
The AP says multiple American trade groups lobbied to have Taobao, which Alexa ranks among the world’s 15 most popular websites, put back on the notorious markets list this year.
Meanwhile, the MPAA issued a statement about the report today. “As today’s USTR report makes clear, piracy undermines America’s creative economy and our nation’s global competitiveness,” Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd said. “We commend the USTR for highlighting this ever-evolving threat that impacts the livelihoods of so many American workers. We look forward to working with USTR and the broader interagency team to protect and enforce U.S. intellectual property rights.”