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Rampant piracy lands China on 'watch list'

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China's skeletal copyright laws and lackluster enforcement have combined to create a free-for-all haven for piracy, the U.S. Trade Representative said in a report on Friday.

"China must take action to address rampant piracy and counterfeiting, including increasing the number of criminal (infringement) cases and further opening its market to legitimate copyright and other goods," said acting U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier. (The Senate recently confirmed Robert Portman as USTR.)

While elevating China to "priority watch list" is largely symbolic, it does indicate the Bush administration's willingness to pressure the Communist government to crack down on rampant piracy. Among the administration's requests: criminal prosecutions, new laws, and adoption of the type of "anti-circumvention" laws found in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The USTR's report also singles out Canada, America's largest trading partner, as having inadequate copyright laws.

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