Plan to combat piracy advances


By Zínia Baeta, from Foz do Iguaçu, Valor Econômico - 13/06/2005

Some of the 99 points of the National Plan to Combat Piracy - launched in March by the federal government with the purpose of creating practices to combat smuggling, embezzlement and counterfeiting - are beginning to take shape. The plan, the result of debates between government, business and scholars on the topic, is divided into three major actions: repressive, educational and economic.

In the repressive aspect, the creation of a special division to combat smuggling, embezzlement and piracy in the federal police and federal highway police is among the priorities. According to the executive secretary of the National Council for Combating Piracy and Crimes Against Intellectual Property, Márcio da Costa de Menezes e Gonçalves, the installation of the divisions now only depends on the authorization of the Ministry of Planning. The “theoretical” part of the necessary structure and how the divisions will work is already finished.

With regard to diplomatic discussions, Gonçalves says that on May 24, representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with the Paraguayan government to discuss a cooperation term with regard to piracy and smuggling. According to him, the idea is that there is cooperation between the authorities. The policemen of each country, he exemplifies, could maintain communication in such a way that any suspicion of irregular shipments was alerted between police or customs officials.

Another aspect of the ongoing piracy plan is the creation of specialized courts for the judgment of lawsuits dealing with intellectual property. Gonçalves says he has already met with all the ministers of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) and the Supreme Federal Court (STF) to expose the need to create these courts. According to the executive secretary, the receptivity has been positive. Soon, he says, an event will also be promoted in partnership with the Supreme Court and the STJ that will discuss piracy and smuggling.

The contact with federal universities has also been constant. The idea is to develop a distance learning model for the qualification and training of people in the area of ​​intellectual property. At the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) the model has already been tested, according to Gonçalves. According to him, the idea is, in the future, to include the subject of intellectual property in the curriculum of university courses. "But that is already more difficult," he says.

Regarding education, the council closed, on June 16, a partnership with the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp). The organization will run an educational campaign in the media that will demonstrate the evils that piracy causes. The campaign, according to Gonçalves, will have two approaches. It will first seek to demonstrate to the consumer that a counterfeit product poses health and safety risks. "Today, in Brazil, 15% of medicines are counterfeit," he says. According to him, there is also a high rate of counterfeiting of condoms and auto parts, such as vehicle brakes. So, as you say, it is important to show society that the same group that falsifies CDs and DVDs also falsifies medicines and other products that can compromise consumer health.

The third focus of the combat plan is the economic one, as the jobs that are no longer generated due to piracy. Gonçalves says that soon the council's website will have a “click denunciation”, through which anyone can report the practice of counterfeiting. The complaints received will be forwarded to the police and sector entities linked to the pirated product.