I would like to put forward a series of questions regarding one of the points that is currently delaying the signing of the agreement.
It is clear to all Colombians that the existing copyright protection laws are powerless in the face of the rampant piracy of any products that may appeal to individuals. In Colombia, before a film’s national and,on occasion, even international release (which is very worrying since it suggests that the piracy network is international), it is already being sold in the streets and at stop lights, and one of the questions that this raises is: Will the free trade agreement’s chapter on intellectual property and copyrights also help to fight piracy? The market is so expansive that on any corner you can buy the 2006 Encarta Encyclopedia for a paltry $2000 (less than 1 dollar) and this brings to mind another question, one related to the fact that it is the affordability of the prices that gives piracy its ongoing appeal: Will the prices of the products likely to be pirated be reduced, thereby increasing the demand for legally sold products and thus curtailing support for pirated goods? In closing, I would be grateful if I could have these questions published and answers to them forthcoming (whether from the members of the negotiating commission or from the general public), and would further like to ask: Are the underemployed, who consider themselves beholden to this kind of informal and illegal economy, the same people who support piracy, and will the FTAA stimulate jobs creation so that the underemployed can be fairly remunerated, thereby reducing the appeal of illegal copies?
I reiterate my appreciation to you for publishing these questions which, even though they may not fulfill all the objectives of this forum, might express the sentiments that other visitors to this site have not yet voiced.
Juan Pérez Vaca
Systems Engineer, CISSP
Bank of Colombia