Theft of Foreign-Owned Intellectual Property in Latin America: A New Strategy
45 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2016 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016
Date Written: April 14, 2016
Microenterprises, mostly unlicensed, are thriving in Latin America, often due to their sales of unlicensed or counterfeit goods. Sales of soccer jerseys and shoes, movies, music, and other copyright-infringing products, fetch substantial returns for these vendors. Amid a culture where intellectual property law is largely ignored and where meager incomes limit the ability to pay for original goods, the market for pirated goods grows. Combine this with a legal system that places little priority on intellectual property rights and the result is an informal pirate’s paradise. In this article, I explain the problem of copyright piracy in Latin America and how it affects rights holders based abroad. I go on to explain the cultural and legal barriers to protection of intellectual property and why enforcement of existing laws is exceedingly limited. And finally, I analyze the efforts made by rights holders to protect their property and why these efforts will ultimately fail. In my conclusion, I will describe what I believe might pave the way to an equitable parlay between rights holders and pirates.
Keywords: intellectual property, informal economy, innovation
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