Cablegate: Need Pirated Music? Films? Warsaw Stadium Still
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHWR #1918/01 2540823
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110823Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5144
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHKW/AMCONSUL KRAKOW 1827
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 001918
STATE PASS TO USTR WMOORE
USDOC FOR 4232/ITA/MAC/EUR/JBURGESS, JKIMBALL, MROGERS
TREASURY FOR MGAERTNER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON KIPR PL
SUBJECT: NEED PIRATED MUSIC? FILMS? WARSAW STADIUM STILL
REF: WARSAW 137
WARSAW 00001918 001.2 OF 002
THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
1. (U) Summary: The "Russian market" at the Warsaw Stadium,
for years the most visible symbol of intellectual property
theft in Poland, was supposed to close at the beginning of
July to make way for construction of a new stadium needed for
the 2012 European Soccer championship (reftel). However, the
market remains open, and counterfeit goods are readily
available. End summary.
The Scene at the Stadium
2. (U) On August 8, EmbOffs observed an abundance of pirated
goods on sale at the market. These included:
-- Films and Music: Next to the bus stop for the Stadium a
table stood laden with pirated films. Inside the Stadium,
many more were openly offered. "The Bourne Ultimatum" was
scheduled to open that day in Warsaw theaters, but was
already on sale at the market, packaged with the other two
films in the Bourne Trilogy. EconOff asked a Russian trader
whether he had a copy of "The Simpsons Movie." The trader
stated he did not have a copy with him, but that the
"supplier" could deliver one in about 15 minutes. Polish
films that have just opened in theaters here were also
available. Music CDs and DVDs with four or five movies,
generally grouped by genre, sold for PLN 15 (about US$5.35).
More merchandise was available than was on display. Traders
regularly sidled up, murmuring, "Films? Music?"
-- Shoes: A huge number of stands offered tennis shoes with
patently false Nike, Adidas and Puma markings. EconOff asked
one Ghanaian trader whether he had a particular pair of
"Nike" shoes in a different size. The trader produced a pair
from a full duffel bag under his table. However, they were
missing the painted-on Nike "swoop."
-- Clothing: Sweat shirts and similar apparel was widely
available with logos such as Nike or the New York Yankees.
These labels also appeared on clothing that was not sports
related (for example, a midriff-baring polyester woman's
clubbing tank top to which an incongruous Puma logo had been
added). While the quality of the sports apparel tended to be
low, good quality jeans with Diesel, Wrangler and Armani
labels were on sale, as well as very good quality "Lacoste"
shirts. The "Lacoste" shirts were available for PLN 35
-- Cigarettes and Alcohol: EconOff noted several instances
of men walking around the market with cartons of cigarettes,
often Marlboros, poking out of their jackets. EconOff also
observed a transaction in which, having fixed a price with a
customer, a trader ran down the Stadium steps, uncovered a
trash bag that had been hidden under some sticks and weeds,
withdrew a bottle of vodka, returned to the customer and
slipped it quickly into his shopping bag.
3. (SBU) The Stadium is owned by the Ministry of Sport, and
had previously been managed by a company called Damis.
However, the Damis-Ministry of Sport contract expired July
31, and was not renewed. Since then, an association of the
vendors has been responsible for administering the site. One
might reasonably question their zeal in policing themselves.
EmbOffs observed an official placidly going from stall to
stall, each openly displaying counterfeit wares, collecting
the PLN 6 rent (about US$2.14).
4. (U) The appearance of two police officers created more
stir. First, a lookout yelled, "Police." Then tables
emptied. EconOff observed a trader from Russia or the
Ukraine hiding a bag of goods underneath a kebab stand.
Next, the trader made a furious series of coordinating calls
on a walkie-talkie/cell phone. When the policemen appeared,
they ambled past now-cleared tables, although 10 feet away
knock-off shoes and shirts remained out on display.
Nevertheless, police enforcement has had some effect on trade
at the Stadium. A Bangladeshi selling "Lacoste" shirts told
EmbOff that the cost of having the shirts -- which are very
good quality, even if cheaper than the real article --
confiscated could be ruinous, so he now brings less
WARSAW 00001918 002.2 OF 002
merchandise to the Stadium. However, he also proffered a
cell phone number that could be called to place an order for
shirts in advance of a future trip to the market.
How Long Can This Go On?
5. (SBU) Closing dates for the Stadium repeatedly have been
announced, and then postponed. One problem is that the
Polish government has not yet settled on a new location for
the market and its roughly 4,000 traders. Acquiring land and
making any needed improvements will eat more time. On August
7, it was reported that the market would be closed by
October. However, traders told EmbOff they expect to be at
the Stadium at least until the end of the year. On September
7, the Ministry of Sport's spokesman was quoted in the media
saying that, according to the construction schedule, the
Ministry won't need the land for a year yet. The vendors
association understands that to mean the they can stay for
another year, although the top of the Stadium, where
intellectual property piracy is at its worst, will have to be
vacated sooner. Also on September 7, the Ambassador asked
new Sports Minister Jakubiak about plans for the Stadium.
She indicated construction of the new stadium would begin in
March 2009, but offered no insight regarding the future of
Does It Matter?
6. (SBU) The Stadium remains important as a symbol known
worldwide of intellectual property theft. However, contacts
in the Polish police, as well as representatives of the
motion picture and recording industry associations, have
told EconOff they are most concerned by the rise of internet
piracy, where content is downloaded illegally (often from
servers in the United States, contacts state). Digital
piracy is harder to control than trade in physical goods like
DVDs or CDs. These contacts stated that trade at the Stadium
is not on the scale of a few years ago (although one
long-time observer of the market told EconOff the openness
with which fake goods are offered has increased).
7. (SBU) These contacts also believe that, sooner or later,
the Stadium will close, and that whatever replaces it will be
an improvement. Plans call for a new trading space, wherever
it may be, to be enclosed, with controlled points of entry
and egress. This should make it easier to prevent bringing
counterfeit goods into the marketplace. However, there is
some risk that the illegal traders will simply migrate to
other, smaller open-air markets already in existence around
Warsaw. In any case, while the Stadium remains an
intellectual property protection problem, it is no longer the
epicenter of the problem in Poland.