THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
— The U.S. Embassy in Ha Noi has deactivated its account on a popular
Vietnamese website that’s full of suspected pirated music and Hollywood movies,
the State Department said Wednesday.
embassy had used its social media account with ZingMe to promote American
values, including respect for intellectual property rights. But its presence
had raised questions about digital piracy on the site and led to a review.
Department spokesman Mark Toner said the suspension is part of a dialogue with
ZingMe’s parent company, VNG, about intellectual property rights and digital
piracy. He said the embassy hopes to be able to reactivate its account after
“adequate progress” is made on the property rights issue.
review was ordered after The Associated Press reported last month that the
embassy’s ZingMe account had raised questions about whether Washington was
legitimizing a site accused of piracy.
the time, the department said the account was created to reach out to
Vietnamese youth in a restricted environment. It said the review was being
conducted because “some of the contents of this website are suspect and run
counter to our Internet freedom policy.”
familiar with the review said there had been spirited internal debate about
whether the embassy should continue to use the site. Those officials said the
department’s human rights and public diplomacy bureaus were in favor of letting
the embassy remaining on ZingMe because of the site’s huge reach, particularly
to Vietnamese youth. The officials said that position was countered by the
department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, which takes the lead on
intellectual property rights issues.
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
discuss the review publicly.
free-to-download bonanza has pushed Zing into the ranks of the world’s top 550
websites, while also raising concerns about the content available on the site.
Record labels, singers and industry groups say the site repeatedly has ignored
requests to take down material.
and Samsung pulled their advertising from the site this month because of piracy
concerns following questions from the AP.
Recording Industry Association of America, which praised the decision by
Samsung and Coke to withdrawn from Zing and has labeled Zing a “notorious”
pirate site, said it was neither endorsing nor criticizing the embassy’s