The US Trade Representative has just published the annual "2008 Special 301 Report", which is basically a naughty list of countries around the world that don't protect intellectual property in a way the US deems adequate. This year's special watch list features countries like China and Russia, while the regular watch list mentions Canada, Malaysia and Vietnam among others.

Notably absent from both lists is Sweden. The country has drawn the ire of US officials before, mostly due to the fact that the Pirate Bay is operated by folks from Sweden. In fact, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) suggested that Sweden should be put on the watch list back in February, noting:

"Sweden is a notorious Internet piracy safe haven. Illegal file-sharing is widespread and growing, and there are a number of deficiencies in Sweden’s legal infrastructure and enforcement system."

The US Trade representative still seems to be worried about the Pirate Bay as well, reserving a special paragraph in the report for the Torrent site:

"Industry reports that PirateBay is one of the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker sites and a major global conduit for the unauthorized exchange of copyright-protected film and music files. PirateBay was raided by Swedish police in 2006, and the government initiated the prosecution of four Swedes associated with the site in January 2008, but the site has continued to operate, reportedly relying on servers located outside of Sweden."

Apparently the mere fact that there is a legal case going on against the owners of the site was enough to ease off and not put Sweden on the list. We'll see what the Trade Representative does if the site is still up next year around.

(via Patry)

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