Piracy hunt breaks record this year


Source: O Estado de S. Paulo, 30/09/2007

The IRS will seize more than R $ 1 billion in pirated and smuggled products this year in Brazil. The number is a record: 14% higher than the tax authorities removed from circulation in 2006, when R $ 871 million in illegal products were apprehended at more than 120 port, airport and border inspection points. Until August, the seizures reached R $ 780 million.


An important part of this growth occurred because of the support of the private sector, with the more frequent use of information collected by parallel investigations, made by organizations financed by companies that are victims of piracy. The Special Coordination for Surveillance and Repression of the Internal Revenue Service defends the support of the private sector and says that the war against piracy will intensify in the coming years.

'In the next three to four years there is no prospect that the number of seizures will decline. New records will be broken ', says Mauro de Brito, coordinator of a team with 300 servers directly involved in the operations.

The Federal Revenue's strategy is to give no respite and get the seizures to break the profitability of operations coordinated by specialized gangs. 'It is still a profitable business, which has not been hit by these losses. This business will only be reduced when the risk of the operation is extremely high ', explains Brito. The IRS does not deny, nor does it endorse, some data on the size of piracy in Brazil.

Interpol and the International Trademark Association (Inta) estimate that smuggling causes a loss of R $ 20 billion per year to Brazil. The Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics (Etco) states that, added to the crimes of piracy, smuggling and evasion, the loss reaches R $ 160 billion.

Ibope carried out a survey in which it points out that the State has lost R $ 9 billion in consumption of pirated clothes and sneakers in Brazil. 'There are several numbers, but what they all reveal is that deviation and piracy are still a huge problem for the country,' explains Luiz Claudio Garé, consultant with the BPG brand protection group, an organization that brings together companies like Nike, BIC, Phillips Morris, Henkel, among others.



The growth of apprehensions began to create another problem: where to store so much illegal product. Roberto Born, head of the seized goods control division, reported that the IRS now has approximately 100 deposits for safekeeping of illegal products. 'In fact, everyone is fully booked and what we are doing is speeding up the final destination of these products and increasing turnover,' he says.

Most pirated products are destroyed, except when they can be out of character for any donation. Until August, the IRS sent for destruction, donation or auction the equivalent, in goods, to R $ 454 million, growth of 56%. In the same period last year, R $ 289,9 million in goods were destined for the same purposes.

"We are accelerating the turnover of deposits to make room for more seizures," says Born. But even so, the Revenue keeps at least 35% of these goods stocked due to pending lawsuits.



The situation of endemic piracy in the country forced the private sector to pay for parallel investigations. All dossiers with name, address and types of crimes produced by private investigations end up becoming criminal complaints or representations with the Public Ministry.

'Unfortunately it is (investigation privatization), but there is no other way,' explains Alexandre Carvalho, a partner at the Central de Inteligência, one of the companies hired by large companies to track product fraudsters. The company is seven years old and has already signed more than 10 investigations against piracy in Brazil.

In turn, BPG in partnership with the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp) has trained more than 3 thousand public agents to identify pirated products.

The private sector has also financed part of the cost of destroying pirated products. BPG has just obtained an environmental license for the incineration of 300 tons of illegal products seized by the Foz do Iguaçu customs control.