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One Hot List You Don’t Want to Be On

A U.S. government report names names in the business of fakes

Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, released on March 5 the “notorious markets” list, a global name-and-shame exercise designed to identify centers for counterfeit goods and big-time dealers in everything fake, from jeans to car parts, as well as digital pirates who illegally peddle copyrighted music and video. The USTR has published the report annually for five years and says it’s paying off. “We have seen businesses that resisted change for years turn the corner toward legitimate commerce,” says Robert Holleyman, the deputy trade representative.

While the notorious markets deal mostly in consumer goods, a substantial number operate virtually. An example is 4shared.com, which streams and downloads pirated media, the USTR says. Froman’s team thinks 4shared is based in the British Virgin Islands, but can’t be sure. All they know is that U.S. recording executives have complained loudly about the site. Other listed purveyors of streaming piracy are in China, Russia, Poland, and the U.K. One may even operate out of Canada.