Copyright Pakistan, India to be on watchlist | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Copyright Pakistan, India to be on watchlist

WASHINGTON- The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has recommended United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick to place Pakistan on the “Watch List” for copyright piracy and market access issues. India would be on high priority watch list for massive piracy and copyright, violation.

The report released and submitted to USTR, said that piracy levels remain very high for all the copyright industries, and estimated trade losses due to piracy increased to more than $136.9 million in 2000. And little has been done in glowing optical media piracy during year 2000.

The piracy problems have affected motion, pictures, musical compositions, business software applications, entertainment software and books. It, however, acknowledged that notwithstanding the political upheaval in late 1999, cooperation from Pakistani authorities continued to result in some enforcement actions during 2000. Police forces in Pakistan have also established special intellectual property, anti-piracy task forces.

Regarding India, the IIPA report noted that piracy of US intellectual property (IP) in India cost the United States over $300 million last year and the industry asked the Bush Administration to keep New Delhi on its “Priority Watch List” for higher level of IP Rights scrutiny. It further observed that Indian film industry has been devastated because of piracy problems.

It says piracy pervades all the copyright industries-domestic, US and international. For the film industry, unauthorized cable television transmission remains the predominant form of piracy. As many as 40,000 cable systems exist in India, and these systems continue frequently to transmit US films without authorization, often using pirated videos or video CDs (VCDs) for their transmissions.

It complains that these cable systems seriously undermine the entire business, including theatrical, home video and legitimate telvision.

Indian films continue to suffer significant losses at the hands of pirate cable operators. The IIPA report titled “Special 301” is internationally recognized annual review of copyright piracy and market access problems around the world. It has sent its findings and recommendations to the US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick which covers a total of 70 countries including Pakistan. The report said Pakistan’s copyright law still violates TRIPS, and the Copyright (2000) Amendment to the Copyright Ordinance, 1962, reportedly introduces an apparent new royalty-free government-imposed compulsory license for copying, translating and adapting textbooks that if not deleted or drastically curtailed, could make Pakistan subject to an immediate TRIPS case. The amendment also reportedly makes some changes intended to bring Pakistan’s law closer into compliance with TRIPS in other areas.

According to IIPA, the most troubling development in Pakistan since 1999, involves the growth of optical media piracy and the government’s failure for the most part to address it. While domestic legitimate demand for CDs is very limited in Pakistan, IIPA now has reports of up to seven optical media plants (at least four in operation now, with at least two others going into operation in the second half of 2001), only two of which are registered with the proper authorities. These plants have a reported installed capacity of 100 million units; 18 million CDs are reportedly sold domestically (with a 90 percent piracy rate for CDs, sold in Pakistan), with the rest being exported.

Seven known CD production plants (only three of which are registered with the proper authorities) threaten to devastate the entire legitimate market, and worse yet, change what was a small-scale domestic enforcement problem into an international export-piracy problem.

As a result of this increase in optical media pirate production and the pirate import of optical media in 1999 and 2000, there has understandably been a sharp rise the sale and availability of all kinds of optical media pirate copies, including pirate music CDs (which are priced at about $2.50 for international and Indian repertoire, and $1.50 for domestic repertoire, compared with $4 in 1999, and accounted for some 18% of total pirate unit sales in 2000, up from 15% in 1999), pirate VCDs, which are starting to appear in the Pakistani market in increasing numbers within days of a fllm’s theatrical release, and pirate copies of business software. In short, piracy produced in Pakistan is now decimating the legitimate markets domestically and abroad.

The Pakistani market remains mired in software piracy, with an estimated 1998 piracy level of an unacceptably high 84% for business software applications. Presently, there are estimated to be over 10,000 illegal software kiosks throughout Pakistan, in cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Peshawar and Quetta. These software retailers feed Pakistan’s immense illegal end-user community, which includes major banks, financial institutions and government ministries. Recent raids indicate the scope of the problem. In 2000, the police conducted 20 raids against resellers, and two others against pirate endusers (businesses engaged in the unauthorized use of software).

Analog piracy, namely videocassette piracy, audio cassette piracy, and book piracy (mainly photocopying of medical texts, computer books, and business titles, but also including reprint piracy and commercial photocopying) continues to cause serious commercial harm to copyright owners in Pakistan. For example, pirate audiocassettes sell for as little as seven cents in Pakistan; not surprisingly, it becomes difficult in the face of such pirate prices to develop a legitimate local market. US publishers’ report that the piracy situation in Pakistan continues to plague legitimate sales as the problem of illegal reprinting and commercial piracy of scientific, technical and medical titles increases. computer and business books also continue to be popular with the pirates.

Source: The Nation