Chinese search engine Baidu.com and an e-commerce subsidiary of Alibaba, Taobao.com, have just been placed on the United States Trade Representative's "Notorious Markets List".
USTR states: "The Notorious Markets List identifies selected markets, including those on the Internet, which exemplify the problem of marketplaces dealing in infringing goods and helping to sustain global piracy and counterfeiting. These are marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement action or that may merit further investigation for possible intellectual property rights infringements."
No official response from either Taobao.com or Baidu.com has yet been issued via their respective websites.
According to USTR, Baidu's deep linking to online locations containing allegedly infringing materials is the company's biggest problem. In the past, music companies have complained that sites like Baidu.com provide Internet users an easy method to find and download music and movies.
For Taobao.com, USTR states: "While recognizing that Taobao is making significant efforts to address the availability of infringing goods through its website, it still has a long way to go in order to resolve those problems."
Alibaba, which owns Taobao.com, last month had its image tarnished when the chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Alibaba.com Limited resigned after the company admitted that about 100 of its own sales people were involved in allowing fraudulent storefronts on its international online marketplace.
The USTR further states: "The Notorious Markets List does not purport to reflect findings of legal violations, nor does it reflect the United States Government's analysis of the general climate of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the countries concerned. That broader analysis of IPR protection and enforcement is contained in the annual Special 301 report, published at the end of April every year."
The list also includes websites and services in Colombia, Thailand, India, Argentina, and Indonesia.