“If you look at all the various industries, everything from film to computer software and even apparel, people are still complaining,” Kyser said. “It’s still an issue. It’s going to be really hard to stamp the situation out.” The 168-page report, issued by the departments of Commerce, Justice and Homeland Security, does not claim any decline in the production of pirated goods. But it notes that on the enforcement end, the Department of Homeland Security seized 8,022 shipments of pirated goods valued at about $93.2 million last year – up 10.5 percent over 2004 and more than double the 3,586 seizures in 2001. The Justice Department, meanwhile, reported 350 intellectual property-related prosecutions in 2005, nearly double the 177 of the previous year. Seizures of pirated movies, pharmaceuticals and other goods have doubled since 2001, the Bush administration announced Thursday in a sweeping report touting significant progress against worldwide intellectual property theft. The glowing fifth annual account to Congress from a multiagency federal task force charged with responding to international piracy comes on the heels of a June Department of Justice report that said U.S. efforts have put copyright thieves on the run. But economists and Hollywood officials continued to maintain on Thursday – as they did in June – that piracy remains a crippling problem in Southern California and nationwide. “The government can honk all they want about how successful they’ve been, but call me cynical; it’s election time, and everyone is trying to look good,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible The agencies maintained that the persistent enforcement and prosecutions, as well as diplomatic and trade efforts, are making a real difference. In China, for example, which the Bush administration counts as its top piracy target, the government earlier this year vowed to increase pressure against retail markets that sell counterfeit goods. Federal authorities also noted that commitment to enforcing intellectual property theft was a key part of the Central America-Dominican Republican Free Trade Agreement. And they noted that U.S. officials have worked closely with El Salvador to live up to agreements. “The message that we are delivering is that the United States takes the issues of intellectual property enforcement very seriously, we are leveraging our resources to address it, and we have high expectations of all our global partners,” the report states. Gayle Osterberg, spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America, said it is difficult to determine whether the government’s efforts are reducing the economic loss to Hollywood. The last major study on the issue, she noted, valued the movie industry’s annual loss to copyright theft at $6.1billion. A separate report due out today is expected to reveal that revenue lost to piracy in the movie industry is only a fraction of piracy’s impact on the U.S. economy. Still, Osterberg said, the administration has been an ally in the fight against intellectual property theft, and making the issue a key part of trade agreement negotiations has been particularly helpful. Rep. Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, however, said that while he was pleased with the administration’s attention, he remains concerned that piracy protection has not been more firmly linked to Russia’s admission to the World Trade Organization. But others say the entire issue of piracy is being overblown. Jon Sanserino, a Studio City engineer who worked 20 years in the audio industry, said he thinks the real revenue lost to piracy is “a fraction” of what the record and movie industries claim. And he argues that the industries are partially culpable for the burgeoning piracy problem overseas because of the prices they charge for movies, music and software. “The places where the piracy is taking place, the people are so poor that they can’t pay the high prices on the software,” Sanserino said. “Here you have people who are making $30 a month, and you’re trying to sell them a movie for a week’s wages. The pricing’s all out of whack.” [email protected] (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!