Turns out the South Park guys were right to blame Canada. Because a new federal government report released today on Copyright Piracy Abroad that shows several countries, including America’s Northern pal, are failing to enforce legal protections for copyrighted works and thus harming U.S. creative industries and the economy as a whole. According to a news release from his office, Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “Our country and our trading partners depend on investments in intellectual property to drive our economies. But incentives and profits for engaging in copyright piracy are high, while the risks of being caught and brought to justice are low in many countries around the world. These problematic places have been identified, and now we must focus on enforcement.” The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual “Special 301” Report reviewing the global state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement. As in past reports, rampant illicit copying of CDs, online file-sharing of films and music, and other IPR violations in China, Russia, Spain and Thailand were noted. Canada was a new addition this year to the report’s Priority Watch List. Berman has contacted the office of the Canadian ambassador to the United States and begun work on a list of IPR concerns to be raised at the May 15-18 Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group meeting. He is also preparing legislation to provide additional resources to combat intellectual property theft.

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