Czech Republic back on U.S. anti-piracy Watch List


    The Czech Republic has been put back on the U.S. Trade Representative's Watch List after eight years, amid concerns about a lack of progress in efforts to fight piracy. Among the new EU states, the Czech Republic joins Poland, Romania, Hungary and Lithuania, which were listed after a general review of intellectual property concerns in 2007.

    The Watch List is published annually by the USTR as a way to protect intellectual property. Being on the list may have an effect on the granting of trade preferences, on foreign investments, and on the international image of a country.

    "We remain concerned at the continuing lack of effective enforcement measures against traders openly selling pirated and counterfeit goods in the notorious border markets," said U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab in making the announcement in Washington Jan. 22.

    The Czech Republic was not included on the Watch List released in April 2007 but the trade office decided to conduct a special review. Its 2007 report also cited Czech border markets as centres of pirated goods, particularly the market at Cheb City.

    Bootleg music and film sales are a bigger problem in the Czech Republic than anywhere else in the European Union, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents 1,400 record companies in 75 countries, reported last year.