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US gives embattled Ukraine a break over IP cheating


The United States said Wednesday that Ukraine's political crisis will shield it for the moment from any penalty or retaliation over its extensive violations of intellectual property rights.

In its annual report on violations of US IP rights, the US Trade Representative gave major violator Ukraine relief from punishment threatened last year, pointing to the struggles facing the interim government in Kiev in the wake of the overthrow of the corrupt pro-Moscow regime on February 22.

In May 2013 the USTR declared Ukraine one of the worst violators of US IP rights due to rampant software and Internet-based piracy, as well as fraudulent collection and payment of copyright fees owed foreign artists.

The government was accused not only of tolerating the violations, but facilitating and taking part in it -- the government itself used a large amount of unlicensed software, the USTR said.

The USTR also labeled Ukraine a safe haven for online piracy, allowing the operations of numerous entertainment and software pirates like

A formal investigation was launched which was expected to end with retaliatory measures under section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974.

On Wednesday, in its annual "Special 301" review of violators, the USTR said that the Ukraine report, completed in February, found widespread violations that significantly affect US businesses and trade.

But it decided not to take any action at the time "due to the current political situation in Ukraine."

The USTR said it meanwhile "appreciates Ukraine's recent outreach and ongoing engagement in exploring how to ameliorate these problems and improve its overall IP regime."

"The United States looks forward to working with Ukraine" on these issues, it said.