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U.S. Trade Rep. identifies alleged pirate sites

USTR issues "Notorious Markets List" today and accuses numerous well-known sites, such as The Pirate Bay, of piracy.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
4 min read

Demonoid, clones of Allofmp3, Torrentz.com, Isohunt, Kickasstorrents, Btjunkie, and The Pirate Bay were among the Web sites included in today's "The Nortious Markets List" released by the U.S. Trade Representative.

According to the USTR, which acts as this country's chief trade negotiator, the list was created to identify "markets, including those on the Internet, which exemplify the problem of marketplaces dealing in infringing goods and helping sustain global piracy."

"The list below recognizes markets in which pirated or counterfeit goods are reportedly available," the USTR said in a statement, adding that the list is not exhaustive. "Rather, the list highlights with concern some of the most prominent examples of notorious markets in each of the categories referenced."

The USTR also wrote that the U.S. government urged authorities in the countries mentioned to "intensify efforts to combat piracy" and "use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal action where appropriate."

Below are the sites included in the USTR list:

•  Pay-per-download category: These sites exemplify the problem of online sales of pirated music on a pay-per-download basis.
Allofmp3 clones: While the Russia-based allofmp3 (formerly the world's largest server-based pirate music website) was shut down in 2007, nearly identical sites have taken its place.

•  Deep linking: sites that allegedly link to materials often stored on third-party hosting sites.
Baidu: Baidu recently ranked as the number one most visited site in China, and among the top ten in the world.

• B2B and B2C category: Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) websites have been cited by industry as offering a wide range of infringing products (such as cigarettes, clothing, manufactured goods, pharmaceutical products and sporting goods) to consumers and businesses while maintaining intellectual property policies that are inconsistent with industry norms.
Taobao: While recognizing that Taobao is making significant efforts to address the availability of infringing goods through its website, it still has a long way to go in order to resolve those problems. Taobao recently ranked in the 15 most visited sites in the world, and in the five most visited sites in

• BitTorrent indexing sites: these can be used for the high speed location and downloading of allegedly infringing materials from other users. The sites identified below illustrate the extent to which some BitTorrent indexing sites have become notorious hubs for infringing activities, even though such sites may also be used for lawful purposes.
ThePirateBay: ThePirateBay recently ranked among the top 100 websites in both global and U.S. traffic, and has been the target of a notable criminal prosecution in Sweden.

IsoHunt: Canada-based IsoHunt, which has been subject of civil litigation in both Canada and the U.S., recently ranked among the top 300 websites in global traffic and among the top 600 in U.S. traffic.

Btjunkie: This site is among the largest and most popular aggregators of public and non-public "torrents," which find and initiate the downloading process for a particular file.

Kickasstorrents: Another popular indexing site, notable for its commercial look and feel.

torrentz.com: This site is a major aggregator of torrents from other BitTorrent sites.

• BitTorrent trackers: BitTorrent tracker sites can also be used for the transfer of allegedly infringing material by directing users to those peers sharing the infringing content. The sites listed below exemplify how some BitTorrent tracking sites have become notorious for infringing activities, even though such sites may also be used for lawful purposes.
Rutracker: Russia-based Rutracker recently ranked among that country's 15 most visited sites, and among the 300 most visited sites in the world.

Demonoid: Ukraine-hosted Demonoid recently ranked among the top 600 websites in global traffic and the top 300 in U.S. traffic.

Publicbt: This site is one of the most popular BitTorrent trackers with over 30 million users worldwide.

openbittorrent: This site ranks among the most widely used BitTorrent trackers in the world.

zamunda: Bulgarian-based zamunda is currently the target of a noteworthy criminal prosecution. Other web services

• Other internet-based services, such as social media sites or cyberlockers, are widely used for lawful purposes. However, some may facilitate unauthorized access to allegedly infringing materials.
vKontakte: The site, which permits users to provide access to allegedly infringing materials, recently ranked among the five most visited sites in Russia and among the 40 most visited sites in the world.

•  Live sports telecast piracy: Live sports telecast piracy affects amateur and professional sports leagues by making these protected telecasts and broadcasts freely available on the Internet.
TV Ants: This peer-to-peer service, which reportedly operates from China, exemplifies this problem.

•  Smartphone software: A number of websites are making Smartphone software applications available to the public without compensating rights holders.
91.com: This site is reportedly responsible for more than half of all downloaded applications in China.