The evils that piracy causes to the country

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Sometimes I have the impression that this is the country of piracy, fraud and smuggling, such is the frequency with which these crimes occur among us. But I am wrong, because, in this sad championship, neither the medal and the bronze would win, since China, Vietnam and more than 15 countries are ahead of us.

One thing is certain: Brazilian society needs to win this war against fraud. It's a tough match. On the one hand, there are the Brazilian population, companies, professionals and the government. On the other, more and more daring, the national and international heads of piracy and smuggling - almost all of them linked to organized crime and drug trafficking.

In 2020: Brazil loses R$287,9 ​​billion to the illegal market

The damage - Intellectual property in Brazil has been shamefully attacked, even with some complacency from the majority of the population. In the case of pirated software, the loss for the country was over US $ 519 million (more than R $ 1,5 billion) in 2003. In other words, of every three programs or applications sold in Brazil, two are pirates.

If the reader wants to witness this scandal, in the open and in plain sight, right here in São Paulo, take a stroll through the old Galeria Pajé, through several stores on Rua 25 de Março, along the sidewalks and some stores on Rua Santa Ifigênia, or even in one of the prime spots on Avenida Paulista.

In addition to evading millions in intellectual rights from inventors, artists and authors, piracy eliminates jobs, scares away capital and makes it impossible to compete with serious companies that invest in research, pay their taxes and comply with all legal and tax requirements. Tax evasion is perhaps the least of your losses.

It is also sad to recognize that the same majority of people who refuse to buy goods known to have been stolen, because it violates their conscience, do not seem to feel much guilt in purchasing pirated software, CDs and DVDs. As HP president Carly Fiorina said, on her visit to São Paulo, “ethics and technology do not evolve with the same speed”.

Impunity crime - Faced with the problem, however, the most frightening is impunity. For the president of CPI da Pirataria, deputy Luiz Carlos Medeiros, “it is incredible that the government, and especially the police, live with the most shameless piracy, because everything is done in daylight, in stores, in ports, in more public and better known places ”.

The final report of the Piracy Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) confirms the diagnosis that we all already knew and reveals the conclusions we already expected. And it proposes, among other measures, greater rigor in punishing the guilty, the creation of a special body to combat piracy, the National Council for the Defense of Intellectual Property and Combat against Piracy.

Deputy Medeiros celebrates the beginning of the punishment of smugglers and fraudsters in Brazil: “In the past, nobody used to go to jail. In recent times, we already have judges, politicians, delegates and police in custody ”. And he adds, in a hilarious tone, that “of the 50 revenue inspectors who worked in Foz do Iguaçu, 49 were arrested for corruption; they just didn't arrest them all because one of them was on vacation ”.

Here and abroad - The problem - which is not only Brazilian, but worldwide - was debated by a hundred entrepreneurs and specialists, last Wednesday, during the Brazil Tech Forum event, promoted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), in Sao Paulo.

According to Jeffrey Hardee, regional director of BSA, the problem is getting worse with the use of the internet to exchange files. But there are other causes - such as impunity in certain regions and easy access to pirated trade in emerging countries. All of this adds up to increase the damage to the Brazilian economy.

In the software area alone, the damage caused worldwide by piracy is in the order of US $ 29 billion. The subject is being the subject of increasingly reliable research by the International Data Corporation (IDC) for the Business Software Alliance. The last of these surveys has the title of Global Software Piracy Study 2004, and refers to the year 2003.

According to the IDC study, the countries that champion software piracy are China and Vietnam (92%). Brazil comes in 11th place. The lowest fraud rates are in the United States (22%) and New Zealand (23%). In China, losses in this segment reach $ 3,8 billion a year, according to the most conservative estimates. In the United States, however, where the domestic market is often larger than the Chinese, the 22% share of the software market represents in absolute terms much more than the damage done in China.

Imagine the total amount of damage if we included pirating CDs, DVDs, music on the Web, drinks, electronics, and replicas of famous brand products, such as pens, lighters, bags, clothing, jewelry and shoes.

Correction - We clarify that, according to those responsible, the site, mentioned in the column of July 11, 2004, under the heading Beware of internet traps, has nothing to do with the site, nor with Ricardo Wendell V. Aquino, holder of the latter, accused of fraud. We also inform you that there is no website identified by the URL locator

The State of S. Paulo, August 15, 2004