The good work of the Piracy CPI


Editorial, O Estado de S. Paulo, August 16, 2004

While Banestado's CPI deviated from its purposes, breaking the telephone, tax and banking secrecy of thousands of people - a volume of information that Commission members would not be able to analyze and that was only collected because it could serve later purposes illicit politicians and personals - and reaching a dead end, another Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, that of Piracy, concluded its work with very satisfactory results. The CPI da Pirataria did not escape its objectives, did not embark on the deviations of low political and blackmail and ended up producing very useful suggestions for the reduction of a crime that harms companies and the country: the violation of intellectual and property rights. It also functioned as a warning against the harmful aspects of illegal trade, which was so widespread that it became socially acceptable.

CPI suggested the creation of a National Council for the Defense of Intellectual Property and Combating Piracy - a measure that the government will implement in the coming days. Drafted a bill, already approved by the Constitution and Justice Commission of the Chamber, which modifies the current legislation to combat piracy, criminalizing conducts of disclosure of the sale of raw materials and counterfeit products, increases the minimum penalty in all criminal modalities related to piracy and authorizes the donation of seized goods to social entities. He also suggested that Congress approve a law that prohibits merchants who sell smuggled, pirated or counterfeit goods from exercising their profession.

During the investigations, more than 100 people involved in goods counterfeiting schemes were reported and 55 fraudsters were indicted.

All of these measures aim to protect consumers who, attracted by bargains, buy counterfeit products, thinking they have done a good deal.

In doing so, it runs the risk of damaging its electronic and computer equipment, but the main thing is that it sustains a veritable mafia of tax evaders and money launderers, often obtained through illegal activities that ordinary people no longer support, such as drug trafficking, vehicle theft, kidnapping people - in short, organized crime.

CPI estimates that piracy, counterfeiting of products and smuggling cause an annual loss of revenue that reaches R $ 15 billion.

Representatives of the productive sectors hardest hit by these crimes make less conservative estimates. According to them, the loss of tax collection can reach R $ 30 billion annually. The president of the Brazilian Association of Software Companies says that the US $ 3,8 billion that the sector invoices annually in Brazil could easily reach US $ 6,1 billion, had it not been for the piracy of computer programs.

In addition to the financial losses caused to companies and the Treasury, piracy, counterfeiting and smuggling produce direct social harms. Fraudsters, as well as the shopkeeper and street vendor who sell pirated products, with their criminal activities, eliminate from the market about 15 million regular jobs.

In addition, Brazil has become one of the largest piracy havens in the world - the country is among the largest illegal markets for video and audio tapes in the world - and with that it is subject to trade sanctions that developed countries apply to countries where intellectual property laws are not respected. Brazilian law is one of the most advanced in the world, but that did not prevent the United States government from including the country in its list of nations subject to sanctions. With the implementation of the suggestions proposed by the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry and a more intense inspection - which the Federal Police has started to do, especially on the border with Paraguay, where a considerable part of counterfeit products enter - Brazil will certainly leave the black list, thus removing the possibility that it will be punished with the loss of the most favored nation status, which would mean the closing of 2% to 4% of the North American market for Brazilian products.