Plan against piracy
The State of São Paulo, 08/03/2005
The National Council to Combat Piracy and Crimes against Intellectual Property finally drafted a document that Brazil had been waiting for at least 15 years - the National Plan to Combat Piracy. On February 27 and 28, its members defined 92 actions to curb practices of smuggling, embezzlement and counterfeiting of goods, activities that move US $ 18 billion annually in the country, reduce the collection by US $ 3 billion and eliminate 2 million jobs formal.
The plan was presented a month before the deadline granted by the United States government for the country to adopt effective measures to combat piracy, under the risk of being excluded from the General System of Preferences (SGP), an instrument that reduces import tariffs. products originating in developing countries.
As the executive secretary of the Council, Márcio Costa de Menezes e Gonçalves, had predicted, 15 days ago in an interview with the newspaper Valor, the plan outlined is still an outline, which will be discussed again next week. Despite this, it already outlines three main guidelines for action: reducing the price difference between original and counterfeit products - to eliminate the greatest incentive to purchase pirated merchandise -, strengthening inspection and repression and education.
Industry representatives on the Council pledged to bridge the gap between prices. For this, they wait for tax cuts in the sectors that today suffer the biggest losses from piracy. It is fair for the government to bear part of the cost of combating counterfeiting.
The government will also have to hire more inspectors for ports and land borders, a priority measure even to prove its willingness to meet, in practice, the demands made by the United States. The Federal Revenue Service has already requested authorization from the Ministry of Planning to carry out a tender to hire 2 new technicians and 1,5 auditors to work in the fight against piracy.
The police will have, according to the plan, specific divisions to suppress smuggling and embezzlement and to combat piracy. The National Council to Combat Piracy will also recommend to the Judiciary the creation of specialized courts in intellectual property, as well as special prosecutorships in the Public Ministry. Last year, 7,5 lawsuits were filed for the crime of piracy of audiovisual products, but there were only 14 convictions.
The guideline that establishes the educational actions intends to reach, in addition to society, through campaigns to clarify the damage caused by the consumption of pirated products, the agents responsible for combating the practice: in police academies and federal police training bodies , state and municipal, the crackdown on piracy should be a mandatory discipline in the curricula.
The plan also provides for essential measures for combat operations, such as the installation of a database on piracy in Brazil, linking the inspection bodies with the state and federal police. The adequacy of legislation is also advocated by board members. Today, when 500 counterfeit CDs are apprehended, it is necessary to examine them one by one and prepare a report on each unit. It is intended to authorize the expertise by sampling, so that the destruction of illicit products is faster, helping to empty the Federal Revenue and Federal Police deposits.
Lawyers specializing in intellectual property recall the need to tighten the punishment of counterfeiters. Today, the sentence is no more than four years in prison. In many countries, punishment is not restricted to the manufacturer of counterfeit products. Stores and companies are prosecuted for the crimes, closed and barred from bidding. Even owners of properties rented to businesses or companies that use counterfeit products can be punished.
It is evident that the application of many of these measures takes time, but the main ones can be taken in the short term, such as increased inspection and repression and reduced prices for original products. In doing so, the government will not simply be yielding to the demands of the United States and other industrialized countries. It will be serving one of the most genuine national interests.
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