Piracy Sours Virtual Global Market Growth

Baidu, China’s massive online search engine, and Taobao, one of the most popular Chinese e-commerce platforms, qualify for top ‘black markets’ status, according to the US government.  The department in charge with investigating the commerce of pirated and fake goods, the U.S. Trade Representative, has drawn up a list of 33 websites or public markets in China, Russia, India and other countries that facilitate trade in music, clothing and other goods that are fake or unauthorized copies.  As virtualization connects global markets, black markets and piracy become a pertinent issue beyond the cloud, garnering discussions and legal amends.

China has found itself in similar situations, and along the way has tried several methods of addressing the issue of piracy and intellectual property. Alibaba for example, manager of the e-commerce platform Taobao, stated that last month its chief executive and chief operating officers resigned to take responsibility after a probe found suppliers defrauded customers. It said 100 salespeople, out of a workforce of 14,000, allegedly involved in defrauding customers were fired.

If we take a look at Envisional’s research, the figures are alarming: “an estimated 23.8 percent of global Internet traffic is attributable to copyright-infringing content. An examination of eDonkey, Gnutella, Usenet and other similar venues for content distribution found that on average, 86.4% of content was infringing and non-pornographic, making up 5.8% of all internet traffic.”

The measures do not necessarily involve strict control over ‘providers’ and/or ‘leechers’ of infringed content, as this is also impossible. Stakeholders might as well contribute to this offensive against piracy goods. And so did Google ,in deciding to take action by removing terms closely associated with piracy in its ‘auto-search’ feature, in addition to other similar measures. German company SoundCloud has also been dealing with an increasing number of legal threats based on piracy of audio files. For this reason, the company decided to work with Audible Magic, a media identification and copyright tracking provider, to identify copyright breaches and dispose of them.

Although all these efforts might seem to be in vain if we consider the huge figures around pirated goods, a look at LimeWire proves the opposite. Last year, the P2P file-sharing service, LimeWire was shut down due to a Federal court ruling, disseminating fear among similar services.