Cablegate: Consulate Sao Paulo
DE RUEHSO #1007/01 3601808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261808Z DEC 07
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7785
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8927
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 3943
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8513
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 3005
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 3251
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2565
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 2262
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 3652
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 2996
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 0713
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SAO PAULO 001007
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC, EEB/AMONSARRAT
STATE PASS USTR FOR KATE DUCKWORTH
STATE PASS FED BOARD OF GOVERNORS FOR ROBITAILLE STATE PASS EXIMBANK
STATE PASS OPIC FOR DEMROSE, NRIVERA, CMERVENNE NSC FOR TOMASULO TREASURY FOR JHOEK
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/OLAC USDOC ALSO FOR 3134/USFCS
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: EFIN EINV ECON BR
1. SUMMARY: Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs Daniel S. Sullivan held a roundtable on intellectual property rights (IPR) on December 12 at the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo. Representatives from recording, film, publishing, healthcare, and Sao Paulo state industry all voiced concern about the growing preponderance of intellectual property rights violations in the country. The common themes were the adverse affect on Brazilian culture that pirated goods represent and the apparent lack of interest by the Government of Brazil in enforcement of existing laws. According to several of the interlocutors present, universities and the Government of Brazil (GOB) itself also distribute pirated goods. A/S Sullivan told the group he would convey to the GOB the group's message about the damage to a country's cultural heritage pirated goods represent, and encouraged the participants to do the same. END SUMMARY.
Music and Film --------------
2. Jorge Wilson Clayton, an attorney for the Association Against Piracy for the Movie and Music Industry (APCM) noted that the big problem in Brazil is sales of pirated CDs on the streets. He noted more than 200 "burners" in Brazil where music and movies are illegally copied for sale in Brazil. As a result, many legitimate movie rental chains (including Blockbuster which sold its chain of stores in Brazil to Lojas Americanas) have closed because they cannot compete with pirated videos sold on the street. He noted 59 percent of films sold in Brazil are pirated, but that the police regard movie piracy with a lower priority despite precincts dedicated to fighting IPR violations. Clayton argued that the lack of prosecution encourages the behavior to continue because no one believes they will be punished for buying or selling pirated goods.
3. Clayton highlighted that piracy is not only of American artists, but of Brazilian movies and music as well. The Brazilian movie Tropa de Elite (The Elite Troup) released earlier this year is the most pirated film in Brazil to date. [Note: Millions of Brazilians watched pirated versions of this Paramount Studios movie before it came out in theaters, forcing Paramount to release the movie a month earlier than anticipated. End Note.] Furthermore, 80 percent of music sold in Brazil is of Brazilian bands and artists. According to Clayton, Brazilian record labels are launching fewer bands each year because they are not generating adequate profits due to copyright violations. He emphasized that local talent suffers in the long run and that eventually only foreign talent would be present in Brazil.
Books and Educational Materials -------------------------------
4. Representatives from the publishing industry complained of a similar disregard for copyright laws for textbooks. Dalton Spencer Morato Filho, Legal Director for the Brazilian Association of Reproduction Rights (ABDR) told A/S Sullivan that universities and students are the biggest culprits of pirated books and articles, including best sellers and books in foreign languages. According to Dalton, ABDR raids of university copy centers that started in 2004 have reduced the physical copying of books and articles; however, book piracy has moved to university intranet sites and to the internet. ABDR has been somewhat successful in suspending Brazilian websites, but many foreign sites also host pirated material, including U.S. based websites. Dalton noted the government and police have not seriously condemned book piracy because of the public perception that students are poor and have the right to free access to educational materials.
5. Dalton directed A/S Sullivan to a 2005 policy of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and best public institution, that allows books that are not written in Portuguese and/or not published in Brazil to be reproduced without penalty. ABDR claims the policy has created a standard for other universities and educational centers to follow. Even though this activity is considered illegal according to Dalton, the GOB has not done anything to stop this activity.
6. Elter Santos, Coordinator of Operations at the Brazilian Association of Eyeglasses and Sunglasses (ABIOTICA), told A/S Sullivan that Brazil's informal economy supplies 50 percent of eyeglasses, creating an important health concern. In 2006, there were 1.4 million glasses seized (both Brazilian and foreign brands) and ABIOTICA estimates the authorities seize only 10 percent of imported knock-offs, he said. The verification process is time-consuming and expensive. Santos estimated that it costs approximately USD 250 to 300 to test a single pair of glasses for authenticity, and that each pair within a shipment needs to be tested at an importer's expense. As transportation, distribution, and marketing costs increase, legitimate importers are unable to cover the costs of pursuing fraudulent merchandise. Furthermore, Santos said the government holds auctions to sell any fraudulent merchandise recovered.
Sao Paulo Industry Perspective ------------------------------
7. The Sao Paulo Federation of Industries (FIESP) representative for IPR issues Ana Paula Villela stated that although Brazil is a huge consumer of pirated goods, most production occurs outside Brazil's borders. As a result, FIESP focuses its efforts on educational seminars and training sessions to familiarize consumers on IPR issues (some of which U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) contributes to), and about the health and security concerns of pirated products. She said that despite their efforts, a recent survey by the American Chamber of Commerce showed that Brazilians are aware they are buying pirated products, but value the price advantage of pirated goods over the legal implications of their actions. In 2006, FIESP visited 12 ports and border regions to train customs agents and federal and local police about pirated goods and provide them the legal framework for IPR protection. For the most part, FIESP has received positive feedback from training participants.
Lack of Enforcement -------------------
8. All participants at the IPR Roundtable complained about the lack of committed IPR enforcement in Brazil. FIESP noted in particular the need to increase criminal penalties for trademark counterfeiting. According to participants, the current criminal penalty for copyright piracy is two to four years, while only one to six months for trademark counterfeiting. A bill to increase the counterfeiting penalty has been stuck in Congress since 1999. While the Lower House approved the original bill in 2001 and the Senate revised portions of the bill and approved it in September 2003, Congress has not promulgated the bill into law.
9. The Manager of Information Control at the Brazilian Telecommunications Company (EMBRATEL) Anderson Luis Cantarine also expressed concerns that the Federal government is devoting fewer resources to enforcement. He noted that early internet reports suggest that the Federal government will be reducing transfers to the state governments for security, implying fewer resources available for IP enforcement.
10. COMMENT: A/S Sullivan mentioned to the IPR Roundtable that he is beginning to see traction in many countries for stronger IPR enforcement driven by governments' concerns for their own artists and culture and that IPR protection is not only an American issue, but has worldwide implications that many developing countries are now waking up to. He noted that he would be seeing Brazilian officials the next day and would be raising these issues. The assembled group agreed that it is also incumbent upon them to take the concerns of Brazilian industry to the Government of Brazil to underscore how the lack of enforcement has a negative economic impact on Brazilian companies. A/S Sullivan cited groups of young entrepreneurs and executives such as those gathered as the strongest and most effective force for building better understanding that piracy is a serious crime. Focusing this problem as detrimental to Brazilian workers, companies, artists, and culture will help highlight the issue for the GOB. END COMMENT.
12. This cable has been cleared by A/S Sullivan's delegation.