Brazil, Pakistan Criticize “One Size Fits All” Piracy Solution

Demand clarity, reform, say blind enforcement risks the delicate balance between copyright holders and users, and may also “trample upon principles that are pillars of fundamental human rights.” Wants developing countries to have increased say as major copyright holder nations advance their agenda.

Developing countries are starting to realize they must be proactive in developing intellectual property enforcement regimes within the World Intellectual Property Organization or they risk being overpowered by major rights-holding counties like the US which are currently negotiating a separate Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) outside the WIPO system.

“For the first time developing countries put forth the agenda,” said Ali Asad Gilani, first secretary of Pakistan’s delegation.

Pakistan and Brazil each submitted proposals to the enforcement committee for consideration.

Pakistan expressed its skepticism of piracy and counterfeiting statistics in general, noting that they are “generally with little transparency regarding the raw data and the methodology used to derive those figures.” Thus, the numbers are viewed as self-serving components of aggressive economic interests. Without credible and impartial figures it says there is no way countries can even begin to build a higher standard of enforcement.

High costs of copyrighted works contribute to the problem as well, creating huge profit margins between the costs of the original and pirated version.

“Quite clearly, business models are not adequately addressing the pricing-cost issues involved in selling products,” it says. “Unreasonably, higher costs along with barriers to access, do provide some justification to the consumers to use counterfeit and pirated goods.”

For developing countries with limited financial resources and infrastructure it says trying to divert resources from developmental and even other law enforcement requirements is often “difficult to justify.”

And it criticizes developing countries for what it calls “forum shopping,” that is looking for other avenues like the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to achieve their agenda outside the WIPO.

It says the real solution to the problem is realizing that each country has a different economic reality and that pricing should be adjusted accordingly.

Brazil takes to task the “one size fits all” approach to piracy, noting that copyright violations do not take place in a vacuum, they are not “disconnected from concrete political and social variables.”

It recommends strategies that are proportionally tailored to the specific social and technological realities of each developing country.

More importantly, it says “one size fits all” is a repressive approach that risks the delicate balance between copyright holders and users.

“It could trample upon principles that are pillars of fundamental civil rights, such as the right to privacy, presumption of innocence, due process of law, proportionality between offenses and sentences, protection of third party interests, participation in the information society,” it adds.

The last part about “participation” is surely a stab at some country’s proposals to disconnect file-sharers from the Internet.

The reality of it all is that copyright holders have been slow to realize that people in some countries just cant afford to buy their products legally. With more than half the world’s population living on less than $2.50 per day there’s a huge incentive to pirate and sell works most could otherwise not afford.

Copyright holders also need to stop trotting out propped up statistics that make the problem seem worse than it actually is. Everybody involved needs to be honest about the situation of they are to be partners in solving it.

Stay tuned.

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