Games piracy rife around the globe

Italy, China, Spain and Brazil are leading havens for online game piracy according to a “Special 301″ report filed with the US Trade Representative (USTR) by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). The IIPA, of which the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is a member, proposed that 33 of these countries be placed on USTR’s list of countries that fail to adequately or effectively protect intellectual property rights or provide creators with adequate market access.

The ESA points to extraordinarily high levels of online piracy occurring through the use of popular peer-to-peer (P2P) protocols by subscribers in Italy, China, Spain, Brazil and France. Infringing peer-to-peer sharing of game files in those countries amounted to 54 per cent of this activity observed worldwide during 2010, according to ESA. Entertainment software piracy is facilitated by the widespread availability of circumvention devices, technologies and services that enable the use of illegally copied games on home consoles and handheld platforms.

“Our industry continues to grow in the US, but epidemic levels of online piracy stunt sales and growth in a number of countries, including Italy, China, Spain, Brazil and France, where we see crushing volumes of infringing peer-to-peer activity involving leading game titles,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, which represents US computer and video game publishers. “Game publishers lose opportunities for export sales, and the US loses opportunities to expand our export economy, and consumers in those countries lose local benefits of having a thriving game market.”