Piracy in Brazil bothers Americans


By Jotabê Medeiros, The State of S. Paulo - 11/12/2005

The US government issued a decision on Monday keeping Brazil out of the benefits of the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) program, an agreement that facilitates the entry of 4.650 products into customs in 144 countries. The Brazilian government has been trying to rejoin the duty-free program since October. The decision to keep Brazil out of the system was announced by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
Despite recognizing the Brazilian government's efforts to combat piracy, with the creation of a National Council to Combat Piracy and Crimes against Intellectual Property, the United States government will not reassess the Brazilian case until March 31, 2005.

In addition to a Piracy CPI in the National Congress, Brazil created, in 2003, with the presence of Minister Gilberto Gil, the National Day to Combat Piracy. At the ceremony, about 500 pirated tapes and CDs were broken in front of the Congress ramp. "Still, copyright holders in the United States argue that they continue to suffer substantial losses from piracy," says the USTR statement.

On the same day that the decision was announced, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a group that brings together the major American record labels, released an official note commenting on the fact. According to Neil Turkewitz, international vice president of RIAA, “the piracy situation in Brazil is devastating the once proud, vibrant and visible sector of Brazilian society”.

According to Turkewitz, piracy in the music sector would have caused, in recent years, the closing of 55 thousand jobs and 2 thousand stores in the country. “There have been promising signs in Brazil that there is a change in the air. But it is time to move from conception to implementation, ”said the executive.

According to the USTR, the GSP trade program totaled US $ 2,5 billion in Brazilian products, about 14% of imports from Brazil (US $ 17,9 billion). Brazil represented 12% of total imports via GSP in 2003 (US $ 21,3 billion in general). Among the products that lead this way of American imports are granite and other stones and wood.

The possibility of suspending, canceling or limiting import facilities to countries that do not promote effective protection of intellectual law is given to the American president by the Trade Act of 1974. The revision of this agreement with Brazil started in January 2001, based on a petition International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). According to IIPA, losses from piracy in 2003 reached $ 785 million, an increase of $ 70 million over previous years and the highest loss in the hemisphere.