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U.S. targets Russia, China, others over piracy

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

WASHINGTON — China, Russia and 10 other nations were targeted by the Bush administration for failing to sufficiently protect American producers of music, movies and other copyrighted material from widespread piracy.

The Bush administration on Monday placed the 12 countries on a “priority watch list” which will subject them to extra scrutiny and could eventually lead to economic sanctions if the administration decides to bring trade cases before the World Trade Organization.

Another 31 countries were placed on lower level monitoring lists, indicating the concerns about copyright violations in those nations did not warrant the highest level of scrutiny.

The designations occurred in a report that the administration is required to provide Congress each year highlighting problems American companies are facing around the world with copyright piracy, which they contend is costing them billions of dollars in lost sales annually.

“We must defend ideas, inventions and creativity from rip-off artists and thieves,” U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab said in a statement accompanying this year’s report.

The administration earlier this month announced that it was filing two new trade cases against China before the World Trade Organization.

One of those cases charged that China was lax in enforcing its laws on protecting American copyrights and patents.

In addition to Russia and China, the 10 countries placed on the priority watch list were Argentina, Chile, Egypt, India, Israel, Lebanon, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela.

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