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Former USSR: Russia Tops Intellectual Piracy List

Washington, 2 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Trade Representative has placed 10 countries, including Russia, Greece, and Turkey, on its "priority watch list," and 36 nations, including Bulgaria, on its lower level "watch list" of nations where piracy of films, CDs and computer programs is still a serious problem.

In releasing its annual review of intellectual property rights protection, the trade representative's office said there has been "substantial progress" generally in attacking piracy globally.

However, it said, while Russia has improved copyright protection and enforcement, more needs to be done including covering works produced prior to 1974. Greece and Turkey continued on the priority list because both provide inadequate laws and enforcement.

Bulgaria, long noted by the U.S. for its piracy industries, has implemented a "substantial portion" of promised improvements, according to the USTR, but will get a special review in December to ensure the promises are kept.

The trade office also noted continuing piracy problems in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania, but did not list them. The listing can lead to U.S. trade sanctions. Industry officials say piracy costs U.S. producers alone hundreds of millions of dollars each year.