What is behind piracy?

Copyright infringement is always seen in countries with a weak rule of Law, but here there are other factors at work

File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 30/10/2017 09:00 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 09:52
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For every Mexican who buys an original product, there are four who purchase an illegal item. This is nothing new. What should be a cause for concern is that this issue has remained stable and unchanging for decades, causing losses for the formal commerce.

This problem is always seen in countries with a weak rule of Law, such as Mexico, but here there are other factors at work – like economy – which make it the ideal environment for the proliferation of copyright infringement, that is, piracy.

The results of the Survey on Copyright Infringement in Mexico, which gather figures from March 2016 to March 2017, state that 41.9 millions of Mexican have bought some kind of illegal product (music, films, books, artworks) against 9.6 million who purchased legal items.

The survey estimates that Mexicans spent almost 21 billion Mexican pesos in illegal merchandise, thus, the public treasury stopped receiving at least 3 billion pesos in taxes.

This problem has many sides. One of them is the weakness in law enforcement. In several cities of the country, the sale of illegal products takes place a few feet away from federal office buildings. Everyone knows where to buy an illegal copy of a film or a record. Illegal product sellers perform their operations in broad daylight because of the collusion between authorities and the piracy networks.

Another aspect which fosters piracy is the high cost of the original products related to cinematography or the music industry. In Mexico – according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) – 24 million of Mexicans earn a wage of 2 minimum wages, that is, 5 thousand pesos per month. If a family wants to go to the movies, purchasing the tickets alone requires a week's pay. For millions of Mexicans, the illegal copies of films are the only way they can get closer to cinema.

This problem isn't exclusive of Mexico. Physical or digital piracy is a worldwide issue.

When could piracy disappear or diminish in our country? When authorities begin doing their job without making arrangements with criminal organizations but, mainly when millions of Mexicans stop living under such low-income circumstances. Harsh facts but true ones.

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