Amazon, the e-commerce giant, has been included in the list of “notorious markets’’ by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
USTR on Wednesday added five of Amazon.com Inc.’s domains in Canada, France, Germany, India, and the United Kingdom to its annual blacklist, reports TorrentFreak.
For those unaware, every year the USTR publishes an updated list of its “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets.” The list includes cyberlockers such as 1fichier and Uploaded, streaming portals including FMovies, and the torrent sites RARBG, Rutracker, The Pirate Bay, and 1337x as some of the largest websites as notorious piracy and counterfeiting sites.
This is the first time that the USTR has listed an advertising company as a notorious market. The report cited Propeller Ads for its role on Amazon platforms in funding piracy websites and spreading malware.
“Right holders identify Propeller Ads as providing significant advertising revenue for many popular torrent sites, cyberlockers, and other pirate websites. Propeller Ads has also been linked to serious ‘malvertising’ operations whereby malware is distributed through online advertisements,” USTR writes.
In other words, Amazon is being labeled as a notorious market because it reportedly provides a platform for copyright infringers, counterfeiters.
The USTR also mentions that copyright holders complain that the e-commerce company’s procedures for removing counterfeit goods “can be lengthy and burdensome”. Amazon should make changes to its policies to address these problems, USTR suggests.
“[Rightsholders] ask that Amazon take additional actions to address their concerns, including by collecting sufficient information from sellers to prevent repeat infringers from creating multiple storefronts on the platforms, making detailed information about the real seller of a product obvious to consumers and right holders,” the USTR continues.
In response to the listing, Amazon characterized the move as part of the Trump administration’s “personal vendetta” against it.
“We strongly disagree with the characterization of Amazon in this USTR report. This purely political act is another example of the administration using the U.S. government to advance a personal vendetta against Amazon,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday to Politico.
“Amazon makes significant investments in proactive technologies and processes to detect and stop bad actors and potentially counterfeit products from being sold in our stores.”
The Seattle-based company said that it invested more than $500 million and had more than 8,000 employees protecting stores from fraud and abuse in 2019. The company said that last year it stopped over 2.5 million suspected bad actors from opening Amazon selling accounts before they advertised for sale.
Besides Amazon, countries like Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela too are on USTR’s “priority watch list’’ for not being able to protect intellectual property adequately.
Check out the copy of the USTR’s 2019 overview of notorious markets here (pdf). Also, given below is a complete list of highlighted online sites/service, including those focused on counterfeiting:
-Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, and Amazon.in
-Flvto.biz and 2Conv.com
-Hosting Concepts B.V.
-Private Layer Hosted Sites
-Sci-Hub and LibGen