New Special 301 Report highlights markets that inadequately protect copyright and trademarks

WASHINGTON – April 27, 2018 – The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today applauded the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the release of its annual Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights, which calls out trading partners who fall short in their efforts to protect, enforce, and provide open market access to US intellectual property rights holders. USTR and other federal government agencies surveyed, assessed, and ranked dozens of countries that present significant concerns when it comes to intellectual property protection, assigning them to either the Watch List or the Priority Watch List.

Stanley Pierre-Louis, the general counsel of ESA, which represents the US video game industry, made the following statement:

“Strong intellectual property protection in the digital world is more important than ever for video game companies to maintain their technological edge and to continue to contribute billions of dollars to the US economy. ESA applauds USTR and the US government interagency for their guidance and direction in protecting the incentives for video game companies to innovate and the ability to reap the rewards of their hard work.”

Of particular note, the report acknowledged an emerging form of infringement known as “grey shards,” which are third-party private servers that allow users to play unauthorized versions of cloud-based video games. When users are diverted from authorized servers, video game publishers are not able to monetize their online content and, thereby, face reduced opportunities to recoup their investments in new distribution platforms. Establishing and maintaining unauthorized game servers often involves multiple acts of copyright infringement as well as the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs). The protections afforded video games by TPMs have unleashed new ways of making games available to players across a multitude of platforms and devices. Those protections remain important to the video game industry’s continued vitality.

About ESA

ESA offers a wide range of services to interactive entertainment software companies, including conducting business and consumer research; providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property, and technology/e-commerce issues; managing a global content protection program; owning and operating E3; and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, visit ESA’s website or follow ESA on Twitter @theESA or @ESAGovAffairs.

 

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