An international delegation from the recording industry met recently with the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafic Hariri to discuss urgent measures to stop the spread of music piracy in Lebanon. The country's piracy rate has nearly doubled to almost 70 percent over the past two years.
The illegal trade of pirated music is a worldwide problem, costing the legitimate music industry billions of dollars in lost revenues, undermining the development of countries' economies and nurturing serious crime. It is estimated that two in five sound recordings sold across the world is pirated.
According to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the companies that produce and distribute more than 90 percent of all sound recordings by Arab artists, piracy has affected the world sales of recorded music, which fell by seven percent in value and by eight percent in units in 2002. Global sales of pirate recordings are worth $4.3 billion annually.
Music piracy is a serious problem in many countries of the Middle East, mainly due to poor anti-piracy enforcement. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have high levels of piracy. However, the rate of piracy is highest in Lebanon at nearly 70 percent - crippling for a market that is an important creative source of Arabic music. The situation in the country has considerably worsened in the past few years, with the piracy rate increasing from 42 percent in 1999 to 69 percent today. The legitimate market declined significantly during the same period, decreasing by 46 percent in the past four years.
By contrast, there has been considerable progress made against the piracy problem in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for example, registering the lowest level of domestic piracy at under 10 percent - on a par with the world's major markets.
The recording industry is specifically calling for greater political commitment from the Lebanese Government; immediate and strong enforcement action and the need to update laws to ensure adequate copyright protection and enforcement in Lebanon was also emphasized.
The industry is of the opinion that the fight against piracy needs to be a high priority for Lebanese enforcement and judicial authorities. In particular an inter-ministerial task force should be established including representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Trade, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice. A specialized IPR police unit to deal with copyright infringements also needs to be set up.
Copyright law reforms are required to meet World Trade Organization obligations. There should also be regulation of optical disc production, including licensing of plants, use of the industry's standard identification codes and criminal penalties for violations. Ratification and implementation of major international copyright treaties is also important. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )