Government to crack down on pirated music and movies
Under pressure from international watchdog groups, including the World Trade Organization, Ecuador says it will step up its vigilance of illegally copied DVD and CD and their sales sales. It is estimated that 50,000 to 60,000 Ecuadorians make a living selling pirated music and movies, with many of those engaged in illegal copying.
Legal advisor to President Rafael Correa, Alexis Mera, said on Wednesday that he will seek an amendment to the new penal code that will make DVD and CD piracy a felony, with convictions carrying heavy fines and prison time. Currently piracy is classified as a misdemeanor. “We must abide by international law on this issue,” Mera said.
Ecuador is on the Intellectual Property Alliance’s ‘Watch List’ of countries that do not enforce intellectual property laws and allow piracy of music and movies. The issue came up during recent trade negotiations with the European Union and Ecuador agreed to step up enforcement.
Because of the large number of citizens who make a living from pirated DVDs and CDs, Ecuador has been reluctant to crack down on the trade. It is estimated that there are 15,000 stores selling illegal disks in the country as well as thousands of other street vendors.