WashingtonPost.com: The Bush Administration has listed 14 countries as needing to do more to crack down on rampant piracy, in a response to America's growing trade deficit, according to the Washington Post. The countries listed for the priority watch list -- which face the potential threat of trade sanctions if the US takes its complaints to the World Trade Organisation -- are Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela. China has been especially pointed out for piracy rates estimated at 90%. Interestingly, when I was in Shanghai on an IBM junket a few years ago one of the IBM head honchos was asked whether the company was concerned about the high piracy rate with respect to its high-end software applications. The reply was that the companies IBM did business with don't buy their software on street corners...
The Washington Post points out that even if US industry estimates that its losing "between $200 billion and $250 billion annually because of copyright piracy around the world" are taken at face value, that's still well below the $666 billion current account trade deficit recorded in 2004.
In related news, China Economic Net has run a story claiming that foreign businesses setting up in China need to do more to protect their intellectual property. The Daily Times in Pakistan reports the government has set up an "Intellectual Property Rights Organisation (IPRP) under the Intellectual Property Rights Ordinance. It will be a regulatory body under the Cabinet Division and will enforce international standards for intellectual property rights in Pakistan".
Useful Link: Software Piracy Rate