Counter-attack on piracy


By Valderez Caetano, O Globo Newspaper - 20/09/2004

Frightened by the scale of piracy and smuggling in the country, is the government preparing a counter-offensive that will be launched by the end of the year and involving the federal and state police? civil and military? and companies directly affected by this type of crime. According to the executive secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Luiz Paulo Barreto, the new strategy even includes the deportation of Chinese people who work illegally in the country as street vendors. The action will also be extended to the Mercosur countries, which will allow, for example, the Brazilian Federal Police to monitor actions to repress crime in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Is the idea to unite the intelligence structure of companies? like Adidas, Louis Vuitton, record labels and eyewear and toy manufacturers? government repression to reach the mafias responsible for the entry and distribution of products. To complement the action, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will sign until next month the decree that creates the National Council to Combat Piracy and Crimes against Intellectual Property. Entrepreneurs are counting the minutes:

? We have been waiting for this for over ten years. We have intelligence services within companies that no government has due to the capillarity we have through our representatives in all locations in the country. I think the idea is very good. Doesn't it help companies just complain? said Synésio Batista da Costa, president of the Brazilian Toy Industry Association (Abrinq) and the Brazilian Association of Optical Products and Equipment (Abiótica).

Synésio has already been the victim of two point-blank shots in the fight against piracy and smuggling in the toy industry. But did you guarantee that you are willing? To take as many? if it means reducing this crime. Since 1995, the hunt for pirates promoted by Abrinq has already had an effect: pirated products represented 40% of the sector's sales ten years ago and now only participate with 10% of the market.

Secretary Luiz Paulo Barreto also informed that he intends to take to the Planalto Palace the suggestion that a mega inspection post be created on the Brazilian border with Paraguay, where, according to him, over 90% of the counterfeit products sold in the country pass.

In relation to Mercosur, the governments of the four countries? Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina? must sign an agreement to exchange actions to suppress the crime of piracy. With this, it would be possible, for example, for the Brazilian PF to monitor actions in Argentina as an observer, and vice versa.

The National Council for Combating Piracy, on the other hand, will have the presence of five representatives of the private sector: the recording industry, cinema, publishing, software and industry in general. There will also be a representative from the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Development and Tourism. The Council will be assisted by an executive secretary in charge of bridging the gap between the areas of business intelligence, the PF, the Public Ministry and other bodies.

? Before, it was an interministerial committee focused on education and raising society's awareness of the problem. We realized that the money for education must come from the private sector. What does the government have to do is use the state's power of force? said Barreto, informing that, in addition to the actions of the Executive Branch, the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) should create specialized courts to judge crimes of piracy and smuggling.

Losses of R $ 30 billion and 2 million vacancies

Despite the goodwill shown by the president of Abiótica in relation to exchanging the intelligence area of ​​companies with that of government repression, Synésio says that the private sector is not willing to invest money in campaigns against piracy. But he says that companies gain from the partnership.

? Is this the real Public-Private Partnership? said Synésio, referring to the PPP project that the government is trying to approve in Congress to encourage private sector investment.

With cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting alone, Brazil loses about R $ 2,4 billion a year, according to the Ministry of Justice. The estimate of losses in consumer electronics reaches twice that total.

Will these crimes cause the country to lose something like two million jobs to China and Paraguay? where are counterfeit products manufactured? with a general loss of R $ 30 billion per year.