Congress to monitor Canada, Spain for copyright violations

A group of U.S. lawmakers plan to keep a close eye on five countries, including Canada and Spain, for what they see as a lack of protections for copyright.

The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus listed Russia, China, Mexico, Canada and Spain on their annual watch list for 2009, the group announced Wednesday. Those countries are on the caucus' list despite a report released last week saying the greatest dollar loss for software piracy during 2008 was in the U.S.

Of an estimated US$53 billion in software piracy losses in 2008, $9.1 billion came from the U.S., according to a study released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The U.S., however, has one of the lowest piracy rates in the world, at 20 percent, the study said.

Some critics disagree with the BSA's numbers, saying not everyone who pirates software would otherwise buy it.

Copyright infringement is a "global problem," Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said in a statement.

“The U.S. is far and away the world's largest producer and exporter of the creative works that entertain, inform and educate the world," he added. "However, copyright piracy results in billions of dollars in lost revenue for the U.S. each year and even greater losses to the U.S. economy in terms of reduced job growth and exports. While the U.S. is the world’s leader in intellectual property protections, the problem does not stop at our borders."