From the Midnight Sun blog:

In response to an inquiry from the federal government trade czar, the Recording Industry Association of America released Monday a filing itemizing "notorious markets" across the globe.

Notorious markets are physical places and websites "driven by the illegal sales or downloads of unauthorized music."

Unfortunately for them, the filing inadvertently doubles as a primer on the best websites for stealing music. If you didn't know what The Pirate Bay was, you will now thanks to the geniuses at the RIAA.

"This is an important and new opportunity to shine a spotlight on notorious markets and websites that provide unauthorized access to U.S. content," said Neil Turkewitz, EVP, International in the association's statement.

Of course, music piracy has a deep impact not just on content providers, but on artists selling their music independently and non-corporate music stores.

Highlighted in the filing are physical markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America. And, file-sharing websites like The Pirate Bay, Rapidshare, and Isohunt.(via p2pnet)

From the RIAA (emphasis mine):

Please find the submission of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in response to the federal register notice in the above-captioned matter. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Our members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In both the physical and online environments, there are pirate “destinations” where piracy is both open and notorious, and where consumers go to acquire infringing materials. In both settings, there are businesses who either directly profit from the sale or other distribution of infringing materials, or who profit from facilitating such theft—in many cases through the sale of advertising space. We greatly welcome this Federal Register notice designed to shine light on these businesses. We highlight that being a “notorious pirate market” doesn’t mean that everything that is done in that market is connected with infringement.

For example, there are vendors in Mexico’s Tepito market, or in Argentina’s La Salada, who sell legal merchandise. But the fact that some vendors may be selling legitimate materials doesn’t change the responsibility of the state, or the relevant market owners, to take responsible action. Similarly, many of the online sites that we identify may conduct some legitimate activities, but they fail to address their own conduct in facilitating the theft of intellectual property and therefore deserve to be identified as notorious pirate markets. Some of these sites wear that badge intentionally—see for example The Pirate Bay. Others like Baidu or vKontakte operate network services that include features that intentionally and effectively induce infringement. These services deliberately gain market share by providing access to infringing materials—launching music services without any form of licensing.

RIAA members are excited about the potential of the internet and other communication technologies to provide an efficient means of distribution to music lovers globally. Regrettably, this potential remains largely unrealized—mired in a morass of piracy. We hope that the information provided herein will be helpful in illuminating the practices of some of the worst actors in global markets, and that by addressing these markets, we can take a big step towards creating greater accountability that will expand opportunities for legitimate commerce.

Respectfully submitted,

Neil Turkewitz Executive Vice President, Intermational Recording Industry Association of America

Physical Markets

La Salada Market - Buenos Aires - Argentina

“La Salada” fair is a huge market located in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, and well known for its diverse pirating activities that include retail sales, wholesale distribution and replication labs. La Salada is made up of four markets – Punta Mogotes, Urkupiña, Ocean (indoor fairs) and La Ribera (open-air fair)– built up on the Riachuelo shore. It is a sprawling area with about over 30,000 stands selling everything from music to bags, and it provides pirate and counterfeit merchandise to retailers and re-sellers from Argentina and neighboring countries.

La Salada is a worldwide emblem of the commerce and production of illegal merchandise. Sold products are mostly illegal copies of European or American brands (as reported by the EC) Nike shoes, Prada bags, Puma jackets, at less than one-fifth their original price. But illegal CD’s are the products consumers most look for when visiting the fair.

This market opens twice a week –on Wednesdays and Sundays– at changing times but mostly at midnight, and is visited by approximately 1 million people each day. The total volume of sales in 2009 amounted to U$D125million, of which around 10% came from counterfeit music CDs and film DVDs.