The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) put out the 2023 edition of its piracy watchlist – an annual overview of the world’s most significant and problematic piracy websites at the end of January 2024.
Titled the “2023 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy”, this list highlights online and physical markets that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.
While the list featured biggies like 1337 and The Pirate Bay, anime piracy website Aniwatch (aniwatch.to) also made it to the list in the 2023 edition among the 39 Online Markets.
According to the USTR’s findings, Aniwatch is reportedly is one of the most popular sites for streaming anime illegally across the globe and is also reportedly a rebrand of the piracy website zoro.to which was shut down in July 2023.
The review also noted that the website was based in Vietnam but the location of its hosting servers were masked.
USTR noted that running previously shut down sites under different names highlighted the importance of pursuing piracy site owners and operators, in addition to shutting down the websites, so that the root of infringing content and illegal conduct can be taken out.
USTR first identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report in 2006. Since February 2011, USTR has published annually the Notorious Markets List separately from the Special 301 Report, to increase public awareness and help market operators and governments prioritize intellectual property enforcement efforts that protect U.S. workers and businesses.
“The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods harms workers, consumers, and small businesses, and ultimately hurts the U.S. economy,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “This year’s Notorious Markets List is significant because it underscores the potential dangers of counterfeit goods and why robust enforcement to combat trade in these goods is important to growing our economy from the middle out and the bottom up.”