Moments of action


Source: Correio Braziliense, 19/03/2005

By Emerson Kapaz

There are two images that perfectly define the word pirate. One portrays the ancient plunderers of the seas who demanded vigorous attitudes on the part of Pompey and Julius Caesar in ancient Rome and caused endless nightmares for the governments of Europe and the Americas until the 19th century. The other, quite current, concerns what we could to call new terrorists, characters who, acting illegally, falsify products, brands and patents, severely striking economies. In Brazil, they are now responsible for losses of around R $ 18 billion, including a reduction in tax collection by R $ 3 billion, in addition to the elimination of about two million formal jobs, according to official data.

These numbers have increased because pirates have always been seen not as villains, but as a kind of necessary evil. On the one hand, it was believed that the trade in counterfeit goods served to alleviate the pain of unemployment. On the other hand, the erroneous view, sometimes nourished by an outdated nationalism, prevailed that the neglect of industrial property served, to a certain extent, as an antidote against technological lag, compensating for the lack of investments in research and development. Now, that time is over.

The 92 measures that will be put into practice by decision of the National Council to Combat Piracy and Crimes Against Intellectual Property are emblematic of this rejection. Experts in other people's ideas will feel the heavy arm of the law with intensity. The siege to which they are subjected involves a vast arsenal of short, medium and long term measures. In the first item, it is possible to align the creation of specialized divisions in the Federal Police and the Highway Police, in addition to a recommendation to the Judiciary to create courts, also specialized, to judge crimes in the field of intellectual property. There will also be a seminar, within the Mercosur countries, to discuss the topic of piracy.

Among the medium-term actions, there is the qualification and training of personnel with the support of international organizations, plus cooperation with Mercosur member countries and border countries. There will also be the creation of popular products, at lower prices, in order to inhibit the consumption of pirated products. A discount system will be created for students, the elderly and community associations. Long-term actions begin with common policies in the educational field to clarify the population as to the harmful effects of piracy. They unfold in training for agents of the Federal Revenue and state finance departments, constant reinforcement of inspection, organization of integrated database throughout the country and in connection with international databases, marketing campaigns and increasingly solid partnerships with the sector private. In fact, the siege of pirates has already begun.

The time when gasoline, cigarettes, beverages, toys, medicines, CD's, computer equipment, in short, is endless, in short, a number of products, with nothing or almost nothing happening. Piracy became a real crime. Those responsible for this practice are being arrested, the goods destroyed. It is a unique moment in the history of the past four decades.

The National Council to Combat Piracy and Crimes Against Intellectual Property witnesses the change in perspective. By bringing together representatives of civil society, from seven ministries and representatives of the National Congress, it makes tackling piracy a strategic priority. End impunity. The modern concept affirms that intellectual property, brands and products of ethical companies, those that comply with legal commitments, exist to be respected.

As a result, evidence is needed: Brazil is no longer the paradise of disrespect for intellectual property, as some countries that are victims of piracy on a universal scale can imagine, like the United States, which threatens to remove our exports from the General System of Preferences . Punishments of this nature are out of season and out of place. Yes, Brazil is moving to be an international reference in practical attitudes, which leave no doubt about its seriousness and determination, to insert itself, in a healthy and competitive way, in the modern international community.

Emerson Kapaz is executive chairman of the Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics - ETCO