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MPAA draws list of world's most notorious markets for counterfeit discs

In response to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) submitted a list of 'notorious physical markets' outside of the US where consumers are offered burned or pressed infringing optical discs. It inclues markets located in the Ukraine, Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Ireland, Brazil, Russia, Thailand, Mexico and India.

The MPAA sais many of the markets in the list below are particularly challenging for rights holders because of the strong connections with organized criminal syndicates. The industry lobby group refers to a 2009 RAND Corporation report, Film Piracy, Organized Crime and Terrorism, that found that "Counterfeiting is widely used to generate cash for diverse criminal organizations. In the case of DVD film piracy, criminal groups are moving to control the entire supply chain, from manufacture to distribution to street sales, consolidating power over this lucrative black market and building substantial wealth and influence in virtually every region of the globe."

The MPAA list of notorious physical markets include:

- 7 Kilometer Open Market (Odessa) and Barabashovo Open Market (Kharkov) - Ukraine. These Ukrainian markets are still the most prominent locations for an array of counterfeit products given their sheer size of more than 20,000 kiosks each. Although there has been a decline in the number of counterfeit discs available following an increase in police raids, Russian-replicated counterfeit movies continue to be sold. These market locations, one near a major seaport and both near Russian railway terminals, attract a broad range of visitors and facilitates illicit imports from Russia.

- Caribbean Gardens & Markets - Scoresby, Victoria, Australia (pictured). Caribbean Gardens and Markets is Australia's largest undercover market at over 10,000 sqm, operating every Wednesday and Sunday. There are between 10-20 individual market sellers offering counterfeit Region 1 & 2 DVDs, together with other sellers offering burnt DVDs of recently released titles. The total number of sellers, while substantially reduced from mid-2000s, has increased recently due to a lack of enforcement. State and federal police have shown no interest in enforcing the issue despite multiple entreaties from right holders.

- Greater Toronto Area (GTA) - Ontario, Canada. Despite over 1 million counterfeit DVDs having been removed from several GTA flea markets by the MPA-Canada Content Protection Team since 2012, the markets remain a problematic area in 2013. Lack of police enforcement due to limited resources has contributed to the continuation of the illegal sale of counterfeit discs in several GTA flea markets. Peel Region flea markets, which are marred by the presence of organized crime, remain the most active.

- Hailong Electronics Shopping Mall, Beijing Haidan District - Beijing, China. Hailong is one of the largest markets in Beijing hosting shops offering bundled sales of hard drives loaded with counterfeit movies in both DVD and Blu-ray formats. Hard drives can subsequently be wiped and reloaded with new movies at a very low cost.

- Harco Glodok - Jakarta, Indonesia. This market remains the largest and most active in Indonesia for counterfeit and pirated optical discs of all types, including music, games, and movies in both DVD and Blu-ray formats. Enforcement officials have consistently shown a lack of interest in enforcing against the widespread illegal activity taking place in this market. In addition, ITC Mangga Dua has emerged as a major center for counterfeit and pirated goods of all kinds, including optical discs.

- Jonesborough Market - Northern Ireland. Infamous within the UK and Ireland, this market sits in an isolated area on the border of Northern Ireland and Ireland and is monitored by illegal traders deploying counter-surveillance measures. Despite enforcement activity in 2012 and 2013, it remains a problematic market and illegal traders often escape across the porous border during raids. Operators of this market have historically strong ties to paramilitary groups and sell an array of counterfeit products, including pirated optical discs.

- Mayak Open Market (Donetsk) and Petrovka Open Market (Kiev) - Ukraine. While there are signs of diminishing number of counterfeit products sold in these markets following police raids, counterfeit movies, many of which are burned on demand, continue to be sold in Mayak?s and Petrovka?s respective 40 and 20 kiosks.

- Mercado Popular de Uruguaiana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The largest and most famous shopping market in Rio, this market is set on four street blocks and contains more than 1,500 kiosks, many of which sell counterfeit optical discs.

- Mutino Market - Moscow, Russia. Although a series of successful enforcement actions in 2013 led to a decrease in the number of kiosks from 20 to 10 over the past year, the Mutino Market continues to be notorious for selling counterfeit products as the number of kiosks conducting these activities often fluctuates. In some kiosks, the physical display of counterfeit product has been replaced with titles burned to order, sometimes in nearby premises which provide further challenges to successful enforcement.

- Panthip Plaza, the Klom Thom, Saphan Lek, Baan Mor Shopping Area, Patpon and Silom Shopping Areas, Mah Boon Krong Center, and the Sukhumvit Road Area - Bangkok; Rong Klua Market, Sakaew, Samui - Surat Thani;Thailand. These locations are notorious for openly selling pirated and counterfeit goods; all have been designated as 'red zones' by Thailand authorities. Unfortunately, the situation failed to improve between 2011 and 2013, with many vendors openly selling counterfeit movies as well as child pornography.

- Pulga Mitras, Pulga del Rio, Mercado del Norte and Zona Centro (Monterrey); San Juan de Dios, Parian and La Fayuca or La 60 (Guadalajara); La Cuchilla, Murat, la Fayuca, la Central Camionera and Zona Centro (Puebla); Las Vias and Salinas Hidalgo (San Luis Potosi); Premises located at 54 por 65 Street and 56A por 65 Street, (Merida); Central Camionera, Mercado Pescaderia, Jalapa Centro and Veracruz Centro (Veracruz); Central Camionera, Lerma and Zona Centro (Toluca); Las Carpas 1 and 2, Siglo XXI, Fundadores and Mercado de Todos (Tijuana) - Mexico. This long list of notorious Mexican markets is merely a small subset of the nearly 90 well-known markets which specialize in pirate and counterfeit products and operate across Mexico. These markets were highlighted because they are all controlled by organized criminal organizations.

- Richie Street, Censor Plaza and Burma Bazaar (Chennai); Bara Bazaar (Kolkata); Chandini Chowk, Palika Bazaar (underground market) and Sarojini Nagar Market (Delhi); Navyuk Market Ambedkar Road and Nehru Nagar Market (Ghaziabad); Kallupur Market and Laldarwajah (Ahmedabad); Jail Road and Rajwada (Indore); Manish Market, Lamington Road, Dadar Train Station, Andheri Station Market, Borivili Train Station and Thane Station Market (Mumbai) - India. These Indian markets with clusters of street vendors attract significant pedestrian traffic and are known for their high volume of pirated DVDs and other counterfeit products.

- San Li Tun District - Beijing, China. Most shops in the San Li Tun shopping district openly sell counterfeit movies and television programs, and is especially popular with foreign tourists.

- Tepito, Lomas Verdes, Salto del Agua, and Toreo Markets - Distrito Federal, Mexico. These are the main suppliers of pirated optical discs in the Distrito Federal. Labs and warehouses are also located in these markets. All are controlled by organized criminal gangs.

- Uruguaiana and the Tri-border Region - Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil. The tri-border region between these three countries has a long standing reputation for piracy and counterfeiting. Most of the product found in this area is manufactured in Asia, notably China. Street vendors are found to be storing the majority of material in warehouses but only displaying small amounts. The Feira do Paraguai (aka as Feira dos Importados) market in Brasilia, along with Rua 25 de Marco (with Galeria Page) in Sao Paulo, are also focal points within their respective cities that have seen high volumes of physical piracy activity over the past year.

In addition to physical markets, the MPAA list also includes peer-to-peer networks, Bit Torrent portals, infringing download and streaming hubs, linking websites and newsgroups.

The MPAA says that American motion picture and television industry is a major employer - 1.9 million jobs and over $104 billion in total wages in 2011. Some 365,000 jobs were in related businesses that distribute motion pictures and television shows to consumers, including people employed at movie theaters, video retail and rental operations, television broadcasters, cable companies, and new dedicated online ventures.

In 2011, the US film and television industry earned $14.3 billion, up 5% over 2010., from 140 countries. Approximately half of MPAA member companies' distribution revenue annually are generated from overseas business. Moreover, this industry is one of the few that consistently generates a positive balance of trade - $12.2 billion, or 6% of the total US private-sector trade surplus in services.

Story filed 31.10.13

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