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New Law expands Ancine’s role in the fight against piracy of audiovisual content

The enactment of Law No. 14,815 on January 16 of this year marks a significant milestone in the fight against piracy of national and foreign audiovisual works, resulting in an expansion of copyright protection throughout the productive chain involved in the creation of such content.

The new law, now in effect, not only addresses the extension of national programming quotas for pay TV, as established in Law No. 12,485/2011, but also outlines the responsibilities of the National Cinema Agency (Ancine), which already existed in a generic form in Provisional Law 2,228/2001, particularly regarding the combat against audiovisual content piracy.

The article 3 of the new legislation grants Ancine the authority to “determine the suspension and cessation of unauthorized use of Brazilian or foreign protected works” It is specified that measures for suspending and ceasing unauthorized use include those that “prevent their issuance, diffusion, transmission, retransmission, reproduction, access, distribution, storage, hosting, exhibition, availability, and any other means that imply copyright infringement“.

This legislative innovation provides Ancine with additional tools to prevent unauthorized display, for example, of films, series and broadcasting of sports events on irregular websites and applications, thus strengthening the fight against piracy.

Audiovisual content piracy is characterized by the unauthorized use of works protected by copyright, without the proper legal authorization or consent of the rights holder. According to a 2011 study by Ipsos and Oxford Economics, audiovisual content piracy occurs through three main channels: (i) physical, involving the sale and smuggling of counterfeit DVDs; (ii) digital, through the transfer and reproduction of audiovisual works on digital networks (including streaming); and (iii) secondary, applicable to consumers of pirate products contributing to the expansion of this illegal market by watching contents or borrowing pirate copies.

The fight against online piracy presents additional challenges, as most pirate sites are hosted on servers abroad. Due to the technological nature of this activity, combating this offense requires constant updates of knowledge and strategies for prevention, supervision, and repression.

Brazil has been on the list of countries that most use illegal content of films and series for years. A 2020 study by IPSOS, commissioned by the Motion Pictures Association (MPA), indicated that losses due to piracy represent almost R$ 4 billion per year in the country, a number that only increases over the years.

The National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel), which recently inaugurated the Anti-Piracy Laboratory, tirelessly works to remove and block the connection of pirate devices known as TV BOX and IPTV. These devices illegally capture signals from cable TV operators, and when Anatel identifies the connection of unapproved devices to the network, it blocks the transmission address and signals from illegal equipment.

With the new law, Ancine is empowered to act administratively to interrupt the illegal transmission of audiovisual content, including those transmitted through websites, streaming, and applications that are unrelated to TV BOX and IPTV devices. In practice, rights holders now have two regulatory agencies, both equipped with administrative tools, capable of promoting the interruption of the violation of their audiovisual creations.

The fight against audiovisual piracy is not limited to protecting the copyright of its creators but also aims to protect the economy, curb tax evasion, weaken one of the funding sources of organized crime, and safeguard consumers from cybercrimes to which they are exposed when accessing such content.

If you would like to learn more about the legal developments related to the fight against audiovisual piracy, do not hesitate to contact our Anti-Piracy & Brand Protection team.

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