New crusade fueled by drop in revenue
HOLLYWOOD– Peru has become an unlikely hero in Latin America’s anti-piracy battle where losses from motion picture piracy are estimated at $344 million.Since last year, local distribs, exhibs, home video retailers and a television station have joined forces in an Anti-Piracy Crusade in a bid to raise media coverage and urge the government into action. This is the first coalition of its kind in the region where companies outside of the MPA membership have come together. Members include exhibs Cineplanet, Cinemark, UVK, and Cinestar; theatrical distribbers WB/Fox, Andes Films and UIP; and video distribs/retailers Televideo, WestCoast and Blockbuster. Channel 2, a part owner of Blockbuster, has increased its investigative reports on the piracy problem to help boost awareness. Each member shells out a monthly fee of $350, which covers the costs of raids and publicity. It’s a small price to pay, considering that piracy penetration of theatrical and home video releases in Peru currently stands at 70%. In 2003, total revenues from Peru’s film industry dipped an alarming 30% compared to the previous year, according to Marlon Manay, head of Andes Films Peru, which subdistributes Columbia TriStar and Buena Vista titles. Overall theatrical grosses in Peru grew 3% in 2003 compared to an annual average of 12% in previous years. In addition to raising public awareness through blanket media coverage, the coalition has successfully lobbied for legislative reform, such as an increase in sanctions for piracy. The amended anti-piracy law now slams a convicted bootlegger with four to eight years in prison, compared to the previous penalty of a two-to-four-year incarceration. The law now imposes a minimum one-year sentence compared to none in the past. So far, none of the bootleggers caught have been convicted. The legal process is slow here as in the rest of the region. “The process could take six months to a year,” says Manay. The coalition has established three functions:
- Coordinate directly with INDECOPI (the Consumer and Intellectual Property Institute) through its Copyright Office Director, Martin Moscoso, to coordinate raids and press. INDECOPI, in turn, coordinates with the National Police (PNP) and Customs (Sunat) to raid street markets and to seize imports of unrecorded discs.
- Lobby for improved legislation, such as the recent changes to the criminal code.
- Have direct contact with government officials to lobby for more effective anti-piracy measures.