Discussing CD and DVD piracy in poor countries

On January 5, I wrote a post about new penalties for CD and DVD piracy imposed by El Salvador as part of the implementation of CAFTA. Street vendors who made a living selling such illegal copies had taken to the streets of El Salvador in protest. That post has generated a lively discussion in the comments on my blog as well as on the Afterdawn web site which picked up my story and reported the issue.

Here are some of the themes in those comments:

  • CDs and DVDs cost too much and we should not be protecting greedy Hollywood studios.

  • Violating the copyrights of artists is just another form of stealing and should not get much sympathy.

  • The only way the poor in El Salvador and other countries can get to experience music and movies is through the bootleg market. When you only make a few dollars a day, you can't afford $24.95 for a DVD.

  • Respecting intellectual property rights is an important part of participating in the world economy.

  • The US is imposing a corporate agenda on El Salvador. Salvadorans certainly did not know that passing CAFTA was going to mean they would lose their access to cheap bootleg discs.

  • El Salvador should have considered the impact on its informal economy and the street vendors who need this revenue to feed their families.


Anonymous said…
Anonymous (In response to your post on the original pirating thread)

What is or is not illegal is for the government of El Salvador to decide.

As for your opinion of movies, some movies can be enlightening. Some movies I've seen available on the streets were “El Crimen de Padre Amaru”, “Men with Guns”, “Fresa y Chocolate” and “The Magdalene Sisters.” God knows the Salvadorian people desperately need to see these movies.
Anonymous said…
They´re back. Most of the dealers seem to have returned to the streets. There was a couple weeks at the beginning of the year where they disappeared, but now they´ve returned. That seems to happen a lot here, that laws are passed to deal with situations, but are never really enforced.