Friday, 12 November 2010 11:43
Prison sentences of up to five years for copyright infringement are projected in the new Law on Copyright and Related Rights adopted in September.
With this Law, which in addition to authors’ and artists’ rights also regulates the rights of film and stage producers, radio and television organizations, as well as the rights of publishers and database developers, copyright infringement is actually becoming a crime.
With these changes to the Law that was being prepared for four years, Macedonia now formally has the same copyright protection standards as the EU member states. However, the general impression is that the formal progress is far from significant, as copies of film and music works are being sold on the sidewalks of the busiest intersections in the capital, and some of the film festivals are still screening films using DVDs. Theft and use of someone else’s intellectual property are actually the same thing now. This, of course, cannot be implemented overnight in reality - Vladimir Pepeljugovski from the Business Software Alliance explained.
Representatives of agencies working on field and fighting violators of the Law on Copyright and Related Rights say that major violations of this Law are taking place in Macedonia, and no sphere is an exception; from the textile, pharmaceutical, to the tobacco and automotive industry.
We’re seeing counterfeited material, copies of registered trademarks in every area – says Mite Kostov, chairman of the Coordination Body for Intellectual Property. He added that a great number of DVD stores across the country were closed as part of a copyright protection campaign.
In Strumica, for example, out of 22 DVD stores, only a few remained in business, and only seven out of thirty in Tetovo, i.e. the ones that legally exist – Kostov said.
The common impression of experts in this sphere is that the biggest problem regarding the sanctioning of offenders is in the courts. This was also noted in the latest EU 2010 Progress Report on Macedonia, stating that only 23 out of 98 court procedures on copyright have been completed - Pepeljugovski said.
Olgica Trajkovska, head of the Sector for Copyright and Related Rights at the Ministry of Culture, who was part of the team working on the preparation of the new Law, believes that copyright is a superior civilization right which is the benchmark for assessing all other rights and freedoms in a community.
Source: Vreme daily „За пиратите казна и до пет години затвор“ November 11, 2010