Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


Protecting Intellectual Property in Brazil

Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


Brazil has shown little interest in protecting intellectual property. This article will give you a better understanding of the current rights for intellectual property in Brazil and what is about to change.

Brazil is a nation of thieves where half of the population admit to purchase pirated products as a part of their daily life.

In addition to the straight up pirated products, come unlicensed replicas of medicines, car parts and other patented products that are reproduced and sold as legitimate products.

The Industry of Camelôs

The piracy industry for physical goods is a good example of how widely disrespected intellectual property is in Brazil. The retail outlets for pirated products in Brazil are named camelôs and are usually an individual selling a specific line of products on the street. This usually includes media containing intellectual property like movies, music and software.

Camelôs can be found at any downtown, train and metro stations surroundings, historic centers, beaches and touristic attractions. There are even some places that are commonly known for concentrating piracy, like Santa Ifigênia neighborhood, in São Paulo.

The Rich and the Poor Are Stealing Alike

It’s not unusual to hear representatives from the political left side in Brazil defend that piracy is an alternative for the lower classes to get access to contents, products and even technologies that, otherwise, would never reach this part of the Brazilian population.

This conclusion is incorrect. If piracy was concentrated within the lower classes, Brazil would not have conquered the second position in the rank of countries with the largest number of Internet users who download illegal content.

Many people in Brazil believe that piracy is restricted to the purchase of a pirated copy of a certain product and do not see the illegal download of protected content in the privacy of their own homes as piracy.

Wide Social Acceptance

Stealing intellectual property has a high social acceptation in Brazil. For long the public opinion has been that stealing from Hollywood is no big deal.

A good example of the social acceptance took place in 2005, when the then president Lula made very good comments about a Brazilian movie that he had just watched in his private airplane. However, the movie was only available in the movie theaters and Sony Pictures, who was the distributor, denied sending any special copy to the president.

More recently, two famous Brazilian soccer players were watching, at their apartment, a movie that was only available in the movie theaters. But what really calls attention is that 90% of the comments left by the readers defended the soccer players and the general idea behind the messages was “They were watching a pirated movie. What is the big deal?”

Intellectual Property Laws in Brazil

From a legal point of view, Brazil has a good protection of intellectual property. In 2003, the anti-piracy law was created and it punishes the criminals with penalties that go up to four years imprisonment plus the charge of a fine.

The problem Brazil is facing is that the laws are not enforced as intended and there is little political will to instruct the police to enforce these laws.

The willingness to enforce the intellectual property laws might be changing soon. Over the last years the Brazilian movie and music industry have actively been lobbying for a tighter enforcing of the laws. The illusion of stealing from Hollywood is about to change as more than 50% of the pirated movies in Brazil are currently produced in the country.

The Situation Is Improving

Local governments have been working in order to “clean” the cities' downtown from the camelôs and, with that, from piracy as well. This can be very well observed in São Paulo, where the process of downtown's revitalization has resulted in an increase of law enforcement in this area.

Recently, a coalition was created between software, music, clothing, toys, paid TV and movie industries. The purpose of this coalition is to inhibit piracy with the slogan “Pirated Product – The Victim is Always You”. This campaign has been broadcast on the TV, radio stations, newspapers and magazines.

Also, the government has been making different efforts. One of them happens through INPI (National Institute of Industrial Property), that uses conscientization as the main attribute of these initiatives. At the same time, they have been providing courses to instruct federal employees on how to fight piracy.

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