EU unveils first Watch List on counterfeit and piracy

The European Commission has published its Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, which names websites and physical marketplaces outside the EU that are suspected of enabling “substantial” counterfeiting and piracy.

In a statement, the Commission said these activities “undermine intellectual property rights of EU companies and creators, harm businesses and jobs and risk consumers’ health and safety.”

The Watch List – which is analogous to the Special 301 Notorious Markets list published by the US Trade Representative (USTR) – is intended to encourage the operators of these marketplaces, local enforcement authorities and governments to take action to crack down on IP abuse.

It also aims to make EU citizens aware of the environmental, product safety and other risks of purchasing from problematic markets.

The just-published working document covers e-commerce platforms selling counterfeits, citing the following offenders: Indonesian site Bukalapak; the EVO Company Group in Eastern Europe whose websites include,,, and; Thai online retailer;, which is one of the major Korean e-commerce sites; India’s; and and in China.

That list doesn’t include a lot of large online retailers that are routinely cited by rightsholders as allowing counterfeits to flourish on their sites, including Alibaba’s,, and, and

The report notes that because the operators of these platforms “are generally open to cooperate with rightsholders…these platforms are not listed on this Watch List. It is noted, however, that according to stakeholders further progress is needed to ensure that offers of counterfeit products disappear from these platforms or are significantly reduced.”

Singled out for particular attention are online pharmacies in order to highlight the growing problem of fake medicines sold on the internet and the health risks to citizens, as well as physical marketplaces in Argentina, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Vietnam.

The inaugural Watch List also cites a number of online sources of pirated versions of copyright-protected content, including:

  • Cyberlockers:,, Openload, and;
  • Stream-ripping websites: and;
  • Linking or referrer websites:,,,, and;
  • Peer-to-peer and BitTorrent indexing websites:,,,, and;
  • Unlicensed pay per download sites: and;
  • Websites for piracy apps: Popcorn Time;
  • Hosting providers: CloudFlare and Private Layer; and
  • Ad-networks: WWWPromoter.

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said that IP infringements “are a scourge on the European economy, decreasing investment and government revenues, and killing jobs in our creative and innovative industries.”

She continued: “They also pose a significant risk to our citizens who often simply do not know whether what they are buying is safe or not. Furthermore, the link between counterfeiting and organised crime poses a major threat to our society.”

According to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the OECD, trade in counterfeit and pirated products amounts annually to around €338bn (around $385bn) worldwide.

The EU is particularly affected, with counterfeit and pirated products amounting up to around 5 per cent of all imports or as much as €85bn a year.

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