The world may look to Sweden for the Pirate Bay trial these days, but rights holders would like us to remember that there are other countries harboring pirates as well. The International Intellectual Property Alliance submitted its annual report on copyright issues to the US Trade Representative today, singling out 13 countries as the worst offenders and recommending that the new Obama administration keeps a close eye on another 25 countries.

One of the countries singled out for lax online enforcement is Canada, which has "gained a regrettable but well-deserved reputation as a safe haven for Internet pirates," as the report reads. It goes on:

"A number of the world’s most notorious and prolific BitTorrent sites for online piracy are hosted or have operators based in Canada. (...) Multiple, and often connected, Internet sites in Canada are used as a massive international distribution vehicle for pirated audio-visual material."

Canada is of course the home of Isohunt.com, which has been sued by the MPAA. The site also started a preemptive lawsuit against the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) last September. CRIA previously had been successful in shutting down a number of torrent sites, while others were forced to leave the country. The IIPA suggest that Canada should amend its copyright in order to make lawsuits against Bittorrent sites more successful and force ISPs to disconnect subscribers that commit infringement.

Anoher country that has been on the IIPA's naughty list for years is China. However, the organization used to just complain about pirated DVDs. Not anymore so: "Internet and mobile device piracy worsened significantly in 2008", the report reads. It points to well-known search engines likeBaidu and Yahoo China as the main source for MP3 piracy, but also mentions P2P services like Xunlei, PPLive, Verycd and BTpig. The report concludes, complete with dramatic exclamation mark:

"(P)iracy (...) is the main driver of Internet growth in China!"

So what about Sweden, the home of the Pirate Bay and the center of the world's media attention during the site's ongoing trial? Well, Sweden is actually not that bad. Or at least not as bad as Canada and China, because the northern European country didn't quite make the cut for the report's worst-offender priority watch list. Still, the IIPA is concerned: "Sweden has become a notorious Internet piracy safe haven." It estimates that 22% of the world's "Top Sites" warez servers are hosted in Sweden.

And then there's the Pirate Bay, "impacting legitimate markets around the world." IIPA is obviously happy that the site's administrators are finally on trial, but apparently a little put off by their attitude: "The owners do not profess to be worried at all; the site continues to operate today." The organization also seems to be irritated by the fact that the Bay's supporters actually see this as a political issue. From the report:

"Pirates have even established a political party, The Pirate Party (“Piratpartiet”), which had about 0.63 percent of the votes in the September 2006 elections (fortunately less than was expected)."

So what's the remedy against such unruly behavior, according to IIPA? Basically the same as in Canada, or anywhere else in the world for that matter: Tougher copyright laws, lawsuits against file sharers, and ISP disconnects for repeat infringers. However, the authors seem to sense that this might not go over so well in Sweden:

"Such actions will be unpopular among some segments of the citizenry but this is the only way to restore the rule of law that has been so undermined to date in Sweden."

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