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Efforts to Curb Piracy Have Little Impact

Tuesday, 2 Oct 2007 | 4:47 PM ET

In spite of high levels of cooperation by Paraguyan officials regarding piracy in that country, it has had no meaningful impact on the amount of pirate product available in the country, particularly in Ciudad del Este. That was the finding of a 2007 special report by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a private-sector coalition representing the U.S. copyright-based industries.

Likewise, the cooperation had shown no significant impact on Paraguay’s role as a trans-shipment point for the raw materials intended for pirate production.

"It is imperative that Paraguay adopt changes to its criminal code so that deterrent sentencing is possible, and that it undertake judicial training and/or the adoption of sentencing guidelines so that judges impose deterrent sentences when cases come before them. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, the Paraguayan Administration has failed to create the legal environment to effectively deter piracy.

"While recognizing that the Paraguayan Government has undertaken several important steps in trying to address piracy, and that a great deal more attention is now given to this issue, it is nonetheless extremely important to simultaneously examine, from a relatively objective standpoint, Paraguay’s performance under the IPR Agreement. Specifically, Paraguay has not achieved the following:

  • Significantly reducing the levels of copyright piracy;
  • Increasing penalties available and applied in criminal copyright cases through legislative changes;
  • Strengthening deterrence by requiring imposition of mandatory minimum prison sentences on offenders convicted of manufacturing, importing or distributing commercial quantities of pirated or counterfeit goods;
  • Providing for the seizure of an infringer’s assets upon conviction for commercializing pirate product; and
  • Working with the judiciary to resolve cases on a timely basis.

PRIORITY ACTIONS IN 2007
Enforcement

  • Improve border enforcement, including the interception and seizure of piratical goods and contraband PC hardware, as well as the inspection of blank optical disc media.
  • Attack the large-scale distribution points operating in Ciudad del Este, including by addressing the role of landlords with respect to the open and notorious illegal activities taking place on their premises.
  • Impose deterrent remedies against pirates, including criminal penalties.
  • Audit large-scale importers of blank CD-Rs who are suspected suppliers of pirate organizations for possible tax evasion. Pursue audits of customers of those importers. Tax authorities may want to consider creating a specialized unit familiar with the business of optical media and other exportable products.
  • Improve training for prosecutors and judges in order to improve effective deterrence against criminal copyright piracy.
  • Improve training for officials in the UTE, the special IP task force.
  • Request that the Supreme Court suspend and/or remove expert witnesses and judges reported to be involved in corruption cases from current dockets.
  • Coordinate an independent survey of the levels of piracy in the country for the most impacted products.

Legislation

  • Enact legislation to amend the criminal code to increase penalties for copyright infringement (designating IPR violations as major crimes), establish ex officio actions, and criminalize of the circumvention of technological protection measures."

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