Resolution highlights lack of property protection.

U.S. Senate leaders today (April 26) introduced a resolution highlighting the lack of adequate intellectual property protections in China and Russia. The resolution asks the Bush administration to more forcefully steer those governments toward a stronger rampant piracy enforcement.

The resolution, authored by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, describes piracy in Russia and China as
"open, notorious and permitted to operate without meaningful hindrance from the governments of those countries."

Highlighting the $4 billion-plus losses to the U.S. industry at the hands of intellectual property theft from these two countries alone, the resolution calls on the Bush administration to "utilize effective remedies and solutions in addressing the lack of intellectual property protection in China and Russia."

Steps would include ensuring that U.S. trading partners meet their obligations under international agreements, as well as the criteria for participating in U.S. trade programs affording unilaterally extended trade benefits.

Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), views the resolution as a call to action: "There is an urgent need to direct attention to markets like Russia and China, where piracy is allowed to openly run rampant, unchecked by the government."

Earlier this month, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, joined Baucus in urging the Acting United States Trade Representative and the administration to resolve a number of outstanding trade concerns before concluding negotiations that would allow Russia to join the World Trade Organization.

The resolution was introduced on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day.

In other RIAA-related news, the organization teamed with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to assist the New York Police Department's Bronx Task Force and Manhattan District Attorney Squad in the execution of two criminal search warrants.

During the search that took place yesterday (April 25), three individuals were arrested, and tens of thousands of music CDs seized. Thousands of DVD-Rs, CD-Rs and equipment such as DVD and CD burners were also confiscated.