Dramatic increases in online piracy in Europe and elsewhere threaten our industry's growth, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reported in a filing submitted today to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The report highlights persistent problems in countries like Canada, China, Malaysia, Russia, and parts of Europe that thwart healthy game industry growth and development.
"Countries that support computer and video game piracy discourage publishers from establishing viable and legitimate markets. The Special 301 process sends a strong message to them to clean up their act to avoid damaging trade sanctions," said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "In 2007, our industry had a record-breaking year with receipts totaling $18.85 billion, but piracy closes off promising markets, artificially limiting our industry's ability to contribute even more economic growth to the American high-tech economy and economies of our trading partners."
Online piracy is only one part of the challenge. The Special 301 Report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) identifies many other forms of commercial piracy, including factory production of optical discs (such as CDs and DVDs); CD-R and DVD-R "burning;" cartridge counterfeiting; Internet downloading and file trading; as well as Internet café piracy as contributors to piracy levels in domestic markets that can exceed 80 and 90 percent in parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South America.
The 2008 IIPA report is available online at http://www.iipa.com/.