International Intellectual Property Protection
By Li Y. Wang,
Insufficient intellectual property protection and enforcement pose another
problem for American films abroad. In Greece, inadequate terms of protection
exist, where many TV stations broadcast U.S. owned movies without licenses and
without paying fees. Other countries such as Italy fail to protect new
technology that lead to rampant piracy of U.S. films on video and DVD. American film
distributors estimate that 40 percent of the video market in Italy consists of
pirated material. Other nations, such as Guatemala, fail to protect interception
and unauthorized retransmission of U.S. satellite-carried programs. Hence, with
the rise of digital technology it has become even more difficult to protect
intellectual property and laws must catch up to the existing technology.
Even when intellectual property law is adequate, procedural formalities
hinder enforcement of these protections. In both Sweden and Denmark, enforcement
is difficult since these governments do not allow provisional relief for
copyright holders to prevent ongoing infringement or preserve evidence for civil
litigation. In addition, the Swedish government does not have sufficient
financial and personnel resources, or training to police and prosecute
intellectual property infringement claims.
Existence of intellectual property laws and enforcement can still be
insufficient to protect films if the penalties imposed are not strong enough to
deter infringement. For example, in China, the fine for illegally reproducing
films averages about $4,000, which is a meaningless amount for pirates who make
considerably more from their illegal activities.