The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office is being urged to keep a close eye on intellectual property rights violations — particularly in terms of computer programs — in Taiwan.
A new report containing the recommendation comes as a surprise because for the first time in 10 years Taiwan was removed from all watch lists in a USTR “out-of-cycle” review decision last month.
The latest report, prepared by the powerful International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), said that Taiwan poses some “specific problems for industry,” but does not detail what they are.
“IIPA recognizes Taiwan for the improvements it has made, but requests USTR to continue to carefully monitor its progress, since some key concerns remain,” the report said.
Eric Smith, an official with the IIPA, said: “With the US economy shedding jobs at an alarming rate, our government needs to redouble its efforts to stem massive global theft of US copyrighted works in physical form and on the Internet.
“Piracy causes significant economic losses to our country, undermining industries and companies that historically have generated new jobs at a rate two to three times greater than that of our economy as a whole.”
Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, told the Taipei Times: “This is an organization [IIPA] that carries a lot of weight and they are putting down a marker.”
“They are registering their concerns that, even though Taiwan has been taken off the 301 Watch List, the situation needs to be closely watched. They are worried about the continuing illegal sharing of movies and songs and Internet programs. It’s significant, and they want to make sure that Taiwan’s existing laws are enforced,” he said.
The IIPA said worldwide annual losses from piracy reported by the business software and recording industries conservatively total US$18.4 billion.
The IIPA estimates that in the last 12 months its members have lost US$126 million from intellectual property piracy in Taiwan.