A big question mark?
This is what was left of the current system of collection of public performance rights of music in Brazil after a decision from CADE the Administrative Council for Economic Defense yesterday.
The decision was motivated by a complaint from ABTA, the Association of Television under the subscription model and concluded that the associations which form ECAD, the Brazilian Public Performance Collecting Rights Society, act in a concerted manner to fix the rates of royalties for public performance collected by the Association. ECAD and the Associations which are part of ECAD were fined in a total of approximately 19 million dollars.
The president Dilma Rousseff announced this Tuesday that Ana de Hollanda no longer is the Minister of Culture in Brazil. The hard task of dealing who such affairs – including the reform of the Copyright Act – now pertains to Marta Suplicy, which is a former mayor of São Paulo.
The Brazilian music public performance collection society – ECAD – is under heavy fire. In June, 2011 a Congressional Investigation at the Brazilian Senate was triggered to investigate several alleged frauds by ECAD. The investigation started after several complaints regarding ECAD’s lack of transparency, excessive collection and lack of criteria to determine and distribute the collected amounts. One of the complaints, for example, said that an employee of one of the associations that form ECAD (there are 9 in total) used the name of a bus driver to receive more than US$ 75,000.00 due to songwriters and performers.
As a result of the 10-month investigation, with several hearings and the collection of a vast amount of documents, a 350-page report, with more than 3 thousand exhibits was produced. It is a lot to read and to digest. By the end of the day, though, the document requests the indictment of 15 people who are – or were – part of ECAD and of the associations that form ECAD for a number of different crimes, such as misappropriation of funds, auditing fraud, formation of cartel and unjust enrichment. Continue reading
I believe it is a universal truth that taxes are never reduced or eliminated. In the year 2000, Brazil instituted a new tax called CIDE (acronym for “Contribution of Intervention in the Economic Domain”) which would be levied upon payments originated from contracts that foresee the remittance of royalties, of any nature, to beneficiaries outside Brazil. The purpose of the tax is to foment the technological development of the country. Basically 10% of everything that is remitted abroad under the denomination “royalties” would have to be collected.
But why am I addressing a 12-year old tax now? Continue reading
In an update to our post here, we inform our readers that Congressman Walter Feldman has requested the withdrawal of the so-called Brazilian SOPA bill, which will no longer be voted, at least not for the time being. Continue reading
In comparison with more mundane matters such as consumer complaints against vendors, landlord and tenants disputes or business related matters, copyright cases are still relatively rare for local judges.
Even within the realm of copyright cases, the vast majority is related to allegations of blatant piracy or some form of plagiarism.
However, this week, I learned of a recent decision involving a specific topic within the copyright law. The case revolved around the legal protection afforded to titles of works of authorship and this blogger was positively impressed by the decision which can help clarify the boundaries of protection of titles.
Last week, a debate has grown after blog Caligraffiti complained about invoices for public performance fees for embedding Youtube videos sent by ECAD, the Central Office for Collection and Distribution of Public Performance Rights in Brazil.
The debate has motivated a dedicated post at Forbes online where the charges were considered a scandal. The column, written by Forbes’ contributor Ricardo Geromel, considered that “astonishingly, according to absurd copyright laws in Brazil, the Central Bureau of Collection and Distribution is surprisingly correct in doing so”.
According to news reports, the largest Brazilian television broadcaster – TV GLOBO – has obtained an injunction before the State Court of São Paulo against Google based on copyright violation. The injunction requires the search engine to remove from the search results links to sites which offer access to real time programs from TV Globo without authorization.
TV GLOBO claims to have first sent warning letters to Google demanding the removal of the links and that the court action was only filed as a last resource in view of the lack of compliance with the requests. Continue reading
My last post was about a new bill that wants to profoundly change the Brazilian Copyright Act (to the worse, in my view). However, I found that a less ambitious – but still very troubling – bill was introduced last December 13th by Congressman Luciano Castro of the Republic Party of the State of Roraima (Northern Region of Brazil) which aims to limit the term of assignment of rights in copyright-related contracts. The bill received number 2910/2011 and, on January 31st, 2012, it was sent to the Committees of (i) Education and Culture, (ii) Constitution and Justice and (iii) Citizenry for approval. If approved, the bill will continue its path through Congress.
Currently, the Copyright Act does not provide for any limitation on the term of assignments and licenses. Section 49 of the Act determines that assignment can only take place in writing and that a total, unrestricted transfer is possible, with the obvious exceptions of the moral rights of the authors. The same Section further determines that, in the absence of a written contractual provision, the maximum term of the assignment will be deemed to be of 5 years. Continue reading
If you read this blog, you know I follow closely the development of the pre-bill of Copyright Act which is currently being analyzed by the Civil House of the President of the Republic for possible remittance to Congress.
However, apparently, Congressman Nazareno Fonteles from the Labor Party of the state of Piauí (Northeastern region of Brazil) got tired of waiting and decided to present his own bill to change the Copyright Act (Bill no. 31331/12). In principle, this is a smart move because shorter bills have better chances of going faster before Congress. However, his bill is basically a “copy and paste” of everything that is wrong with the pre-bill of Copyright Act proposed by the Ministry of Culture. Worse yet, it is a “copy and paste” of prior versions of the pre-bill which were clearly designed to make copyright flexible to the users, yielding less protection to the content creators and owners. Continue reading