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The United States commends the notable progress Israel achieved in 2001 in copyright enforcement. In 2001 Israel significantly increased the budgetary, educational, police and judicial resources it devotes to such enforcement efforts, with extensive concrete results in terms of raids, abatement of illegal CD production, and a drop in the piracy level for U.S. repertoire. Knesset approval is expected soon for a copyright law that would increase penalties and expedite prosecution for copyright violations, a step which would be a highly positive development. However, Israel maintains its policy of allowing its generic pharmaceuticals to rely on the confidential test data of U.S. innovator firms to obtain marketing approval, a policy it contends is TRIPS-consistent. Moreover, the lack of a clear definition for end-user piracy of business software as a crime, court procedural delays, and inadequate compensatory and deterrent civil damages have weakened some of its enforcement efforts. An opinion by the Ministry of Justice concluding that payment for the broadcasting and public performance of U.S. sound recordings is no longer necessary remains a concern, and the U.S. Government continues to seek clarification regarding the bearing of this opinion on Israel's bilateral obligations to the United States. The U.S. Government urges the Knesset to act soon to pass the copyright law and looks forward to continued improvements in Israel's intellectual property regime, including sustained efforts to strengthen copyright enforcement, that can be reflected in the OCR to be conducted later this year.
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