|Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA|
COMMITTEE OF GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PARTICIPATION OF
CONTRIBUTION IN RESPONSE TO THE OPEN AND ONGOING INVITATION
The recording industry associations of the Americas listed below offer the following submission with respect to the ALCA/FTAA negotiations, specifically regarding the chapter on intellectual property rights:
The vibrant music of Western Hemisphere is widely recognized as one of the great contributions of our peoples to global society. Yet our ability to continue creating and offering this magnificent music is under threat today like never before. The collective output of our songwriters, performers, musicians, technicians and producers is being pirated on a massive scale that, unless adequately addressed, could fundamentally undermine our hemispheric cultural treasure. This is not an issue of one or just a few of our countries-it affects us all.
The victims of piracy include the artists whose creativity gets no reward; governments who lose hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues; economies that are deprived of new investments; consumers who get less diversity and less choice; and record producers who, due to rampant theft, have less money to invest in the development of new talent.
The greatest victim of piracy is local culture. Record companies throughout the hemisphere invest hundreds of millions of dollars-up to 15 percent of turnover in some countries-in new talent. This investment has risen steadily over the last decade, and local repertoire accounts for nearly 70 percent of the global music market. Unless investment is compensated, it will dry up, and along with it will perish the fantastic diversity of music that has been our region’s legacy.
In addition, piracy nurtures organized crime. Very often the music that is paid for pirate CDs will be channeled into drug trade, money laundering or other forms of serious organized criminal activity.
For these reasons we call upon ALCA/FTAA negotiators to ensure that chapter on intellectual property incorporates strong substantive standards and enforcement mechanisms so that we can turn the tide on the destructive forces of music piracy. These negotiations offer an unparalleled opportunity to address current problems affecting cultural output and diversity through the articulation of a strong and unambiguous commitment to fighting piracy, and to pave the way for e-commerce in cultural materials to prosper by creating standards that will ensure the protection of cultural materials in the on-line environment. Creators from lesser-developed nations have a particular stake in the outcome of these negotiations as success, or failure, to create and enforce binding rules that foster creativity will determine whether the economics of the industry permit investment in the creation and distribution of their work.
Here are examples of how ALCA/FTAA can help:
Substantive copyright issues
º A right of importation
º Legal remedies should be afforded to protect rights
management information from unauthorized alteration and
º The principle of full national treatment, without
exception or derogation, should be the norm in the FTAA IPR Chapter.
º Contractual rights: Any person acquiring or
holding any economic rights should be able to freely and separately
º Retroactivity provisions: Each country should
apply the provisions of Article 18 of the Berne Convention for the
Effective criminal remedies are essential against those who violate these rights on a commercial scale-including offenses on the internet that do not involve any exchange of money but which entail the offering of unauthorized materials to a broad audience. Customs and police authorities in each country must be able to initiate criminal actions ex officio, without the need for a complaint by a private party or right holder. Governments should ensure that piracy is both punishable in law, and punished in practice, by effective criminal sanctions including imprisonment, and should ensure that copyright and neighboring rights offenses are treated as serious crimes. Finally, countries should provide clear and workable mechanisms so that rightholders will be able to enforce their rights against infringers. Remedies must provide deterrents to further infringements.
On behalf of the following:
Orlando Parra Castro
Myrna Lee Luque
Guzman Fernandez Avila
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