The US Trade Representative has been handed a report by the International Intellectual Property Alliance outlining key "legal and enforcement deficiencies" in 39 countries around the world, with Italy, China, Spain and Brazil apparently leading the online piracy safe haven list.
US trade organisation, the ESA - a member of IIPA - claims that peer-to-peer networks in those countries amounted to 54 per cent of all IP infringement worldwide in 2010.
The report - a 'Special 301' - could lead in the worst case scenario to the USTR imposing trade sanctions on certain countries following further investigation, but meanwhile the IIPA has recommended that China remains on the USTR's Priority Watch List as the "source of much of the world's supply of counterfeit games and game hardware and circumvention devices".
Meanwhile it has requested that Spain be upgraded to the Priority Watch List, while recommending that Italy - responsible for 30 million unauthorised connections - and Brazil remain on the Watch List.
Canada and France were also both named in the report, with the former sitting on the Priority Watch List for being a "transshipment hub for circumvention devices imported from Asian producers," while the latter was listed in the top five list of the highest numbers of unauthorised P2P detections in the world.
The report claims that Italy, China, Spain, Brazil and France were together responsible for 78 million detections, compared to 5.8 million in the US.
"Our industry continues to grow in the US, but epidemic levels of online piracy stunt sales and growth in a number of countries, including Italy, China, Spain, Brazil and France, where we see crushing volumes of infringing peer-to-peer activity involving leading game titles," said Michael D Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA.
"Game publishers lose opportunities for export sales, and the US loses opportunities to expand our export economy, and consumers in those countries lose local benefits of having a thriving game market."
The full report will be available from the IIPA website in due course.