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Cablegate: Ustr Follows Up On Ipr Climate in Brunei

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBD #0213 2520500
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090500Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4640
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 2077

UNCLAS BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 000213

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS FOR EAP/MTS/COPPOLAMG, EEB/TPP/IPE/URBANJ
DEPARTMENT PASS USTR/EHLERSK
DEPARTMENT PASS FOR USPTO
BANGKOK FOR FCS/NESSJ


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECON EINV USTR BX

SUBJECT: USTR FOLLOWS UP ON IPR CLIMATE IN BRUNEI

REF: A) BANDAR 204
B) BANDAR 208

SUMMARY
--------
1.(SBU) During his recent visit, USTR's Director of S.E. Asia and
Pacific Affairs, Karl Ehlers, applauded recent steps taken by the
Government of Brunei (GOB) in their efforts to improve the IPR
climate within Brunei. He took this opportunity to emphasize to GOB
agencies the importance of building on these initial steps brought
about by USPTO, USTR and key efforts from U.S. Embassy Brunei
personnel. He and ADCM Lampel both encouraged and prodded the
various agencies to sustain this forward momentum and move towards
direct penalty actions in order to achieve concrete long term
improvement in the overall IPR industry of Brunei. End Summary

PERSPECTIVE FROM GOB AGENCIES
-----------------------------
2. (SBU) The Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) stated it arranged
with Recording Industry Malaysia (RIM) to execute a three month
assessment of how the market reacts to local vendor raids in
addition to ongoing physical verification visits with cooperation
from the police, prior to any decision as to whether or not they
will set up a permanent office in Brunei. (Note: This appears to
contradict what RIM announced at their press conference when stating
they already established a permanent presence in Brunei. (Ref A) Its
possible RIM did not detail a time limit for fear it might taint
action by the five syndicates if an end was in sight. End note.)
The AGC also said they were looking at options for pulling business
licenses of vendors of pirated optical discs as an administrative
remedy short of court action. This would be similar in essence to
closing a restaurant for health code violations. On a less positive
note, AGC could not confirm if individual artists would be required
to physically testify as witnesses in court proceedings.

3. (SBU) At a roundtable on IPR at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Trade (MOFAT), senior MOFAT officials watched National
Geographic's aptly titled documentary on illicit trade, 'Illicit'.
Following the screening, informal discussions on the IPR climate
were held between MOFAT, USTR and US Embassy personnel. MOFAT
stated that efforts on setting up a national IPR task force were
ongoing, though a decision on a lead agency has yet to be decided
(Note: After more than a year of consideration, it appears that both
AGC and MOFAT want to be the lead. End note.). MOFAT
representatives posed several variations of questions about next
year's Special 301 decision for Brunei. USTR and US Embassy
emphasized, with their responses, it would depend on sustained
enforcement efforts for rights holders combined with credible
prosecutions and ideally convictions made by Brunei.


COMMENT
--------
4. (SBU) At both meetings, the need for more right holders'
involvement in Brunei aside from RIM was brought up. While the
Brunei music market responded positively to RIM's efforts it is to
the detriment of MPA. Shelves previously occupied by pirated CDs
are filling with more pirated DVDs. It appears progress in curbing
piracy has only been made on RIM products. A broader coalition of
rights holders is required to effectively address the problem, or
vendors will keep shifting their offerings around in response to the
pressure of the IPR complainant. (Note: A recent press article
titled 'Many skeptical over piracy crackdown' indicated the general
public has doubts about the effectiveness of the current music
piracy crackdown. Reflecting comments made in earlier cable (Ref
B), some noted the modus operandi would shift to Internet downloads,
whereas others doubted the current legitimate market for music would
last. End note.)

LAMPEL

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