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Bulgaria: U.S. Increases Pressure To Fight CD Piracy

Washington, 7 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. Trade Representative has placed Bulgaria on a special "watch list" of countries which the United States is pressuring to fight the piracy of compact discs (CDs) and other intellectual properties.

Although the Bulgarian government has taken several steps to provide a modern legal structure for the protection of intellectual property rights, the trade representative's office says the measures "have not adequately addressed the existence of significant CD and CD-ROM production capacity in Bulgaria, which far exceeds domestic demand or the legitimate export market."

The CD industry's anti-piracy watch group, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), says Bulgaria has become Europe's leading manufacturer of pirate CDs.

Acting U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky has praised Bulgaria's passage of a new intellectual property law, but says there needs to be more cooperation between the government, industry groups and the United States to ensure that CD and CD-ROM production in Bulgaria is legitimate.

Bulgaria, Bolivia and Paraguay were added to the "watch list" this week after a special review conducted in September. Russia and Poland are already on that list.

Piracy of copyright products, including CDs, films, videos, computer software and books costs American owners of the material an estimated $2 billion per year.