Everything favors piracy


The State of S. Paulo (Editorial), 16/10/2005

Brazilians know that piracy is a crime and that the purchase of pirated, counterfeit and smuggled products causes unemployment, damages rights, reduces tax revenue and feeds! organized crime.

But despite this, the market for these products is booming and buyers are about 79 million people, according to a survey by the Trade Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Fecomércio-RJ) in partnership with the Ipsos institute. Technicians will be able to discuss whether the estimate, based on responses collected from 70 households in 9 cities in XNUMX metropolitan regions, is reliable. But this does not disqualify the main conclusions, which are alarming, although not surprising, and reinforces the belief that there is still a lot to do to mitigate the problem.

The first data is obvious: 93% of consumers of products from the illegal trade point out the price difference as the main reason for buying. Part of the price difference is explained by the heavy taxation of consumer goods. The most purchased products - CDs, indicated by 86% of respondents, and DVDs, indicated by 35% - are very expensive for most Brazilians.
The poor and the well-off can buy record players and even DVD players in installments at popular stores, paying a large number of installments. Interest is high, but despite that, the installments can fit into your tight budget. The most difficult thing is to buy the discs.

Other consumer products that are also attractive, such as watches, glasses, sneakers and toys, are also much more accessible at countertops for counterfeit and smuggled products. How can we convince people that they should give up consumption of these goods, when everyone is bombarded continuously by advertising stimuli? But consumers are not just the poor or the remedy.

Illegal trade reflects excess taxes and costs in Brazil

When asked which pirated products would not be purchased, 40% indicated electronic equipment, 37%, computer programs, and 30%, vehicle accessories. The 'civic' answer would be 'none'.
The respondents' manifestations, in this part of the research, are as rational, from the consumer's point of view, as the preference for the lowest price. Poor quality was the reason cited by 42% of consumers for the rejection of those products. For 14%, the problem was the lack of guarantee. The intention to avoid losses to formal trade was mentioned by only 5% of respondents.

However, the interviews showed that consumers are aware of the ills caused by the illegal trade.
Losses for the artist were mentioned by 83%. Tax evasion was cited by an equal number. Advantages for organized crime were pointed out by 70%. All ! this constitutes a remarkable example of how personal advantage can weigh more in the decisions of each person than the perception of social ills caused by crime.

If the survey data is correct, not much should be expected from awareness campaigns.

Much more weight will have to be given to the work of preventing and suppressing piracy, counterfeiting and smuggling.
But no solution will have a great effect, in isolation. It must be recognized that the problem is associated with the costs of production and consumption. The consumer pays very heavy taxes on goods that leave Brazilian factories. But, before the final purchase, these products are already very expensive because of the excessive costs of national production: taxes, scarce credit, deficient infrastructure and insecurity.

Crime is not only present in smuggling, piracy and counterfeiting. Cargo theft also makes domestic production more expensive: directly, due to the diversion of goods; indirectly, by security expenses incurred by companies. All factors well weighed, the conclusion is inevitable: the success of illegal trade in Brazil is just one more effect of the many deficiencies of the national economy - starting with the excess of taxes and the scarcity of public investments.