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ESA: Piracy exceeds 90 % in some territories

The Entertainment Software Association has filed a Special 301 Report with the US Trade Representative outlining the challenge that international piracy poses to the growth of the videogames industry.

The Entertainment Software Association has filed a Special 301 Report with the US Trade Representative outlining the challenge that international piracy poses to the growth of the videogames industry.

The report highlights a number of territories for which online piracy is a concern, including Canada, China, Malaysia, Russia and parts of Europe.

The ESA's CEO, Michael Gallagher, explained: "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."

The report went on to note more extreme areas where - according to the ESA - piracy can exceed 80 or 90 per cent.

Drawing on evidence from the International Intellectual Property Alliance the report notes that with the "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 cafe piracy," the worst areas are to be found in parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South America.

But while short term fixes are less likely in those areas, it will be hoped that some progress can be made elsewhere.

The report notes specifically that there are "legal and enforcement deficiencies" in Canada, allowing pirated games to enter the retail chain, while an "online piracy explosion" has rocked Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden in particular.

"This year our Special 301 filing highlights countries that urgently need to begin backing up their commitment to creativity and innovation," continued Gallagher.

"We look forward to working with USTR and other supporting government agencies to achieve tangible results and hopefully succeed in lowering piracy in these key countries."

"Freeing these markets from the pirates' stranglehold will also help empower a local video game economy."

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