The United States has urged the Russian government to take stronger action against software piracy, saying that Russia has become the world's second largest producer of counterfeit music and video products after China. U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow has asked Russian Press and Mass Media Minister Mikhail Lesin for assistance in investigating activities of plants that are suspected of producing illegal music and video discs, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement Thursday.
Lesin's ministry is the licensing authority for Russian CD and DVD manufacturers.
According to the U.S. Embassy, Russia now manufactures over 200 million of CDs and DVDs a year, while the domestic demand is estimated at just 10 million.
"Russia has recently become a significant exporter of pirated products, and at conferences of film and recording industries, Russia was ranked second behind China as the largest producer of pirated goods," the U.S. Embassy said.
The Russian government has repeatedly pledged to crack down on software piracy, but it has continued to mushroom. The authorities have recently closed Moscow's largest outdoor market for video and audio products, describing the move as a crackdown on piracy, but the market quickly reopened at a former television factory just a few blocks away.
The U.S. Embassy said that it was "especially troubling" that the pirated products were produced at the facilities of the government-controlled Russian military-industrial complex.
"Failing to adequately enforce intellectual property rights has the potential to harm foreign investment in Russia and harm the development of Russia's own entertainment industry," it said.