Russian Piracy Costs US $1.8 Billion

Russian piracy is becoming costly to U.S. companies, according to a report released late Monday by the International Intellectual Property Association. In 2005 alone, nearly $1.8 billion was lost due to pirated films, music and software, said the organization.

While that may seem staggering, piracy in China is even worse. The IIPA said that in 2005, bootlegged software and entertainment cost U.S. businesses $2.37 billion.

In most sectors, the rate of piracy in Russia is between 70 to 80 percent. Experts blame the high rates on a lax enforcement of the nation's copyright laws.

While Russia has worked hard recently to bring its laws into compliance with international treaties and accepted norms, many businesses continue selling pirated copies of DVDs, CDs and software releases.

Business software piracy was the biggest problem in the country, accounting for $748 million in losses during the year. Next on the list was music piracy with $475 million, and film with $266 million in losses came in third. Entertainment software piracy totaled $224 million, according to the study.

"Repeated efforts by industry and the U.S. government over many years to provide meaningful and deterrent enforcement of its copyright and other laws...have yielded little progress," the IIPA said in a statement.

The country's piracy problems are also an issue with the World Trade Organization. In order to join the group, Russia must sign deals with all other member countries, and thus far piracy issues have been holding up talks in the United States.

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