* Thetorrents While piracy is a problem that affects people all across the world, the legal measures that may be pursued to combat it vary greatly from nation to nation.
For instance, the protection of intellectual property rights is not regarded as a pressing issue or a novel phenomena in Iraq.
At the time that American forces were still stationed in Iraq, the owners of the rights noticed that American soldiers were adopting the customs of the locals. As a direct consequence of this development, “copyright notifications” were dispatched to several US military installations, and the United States Central Command was placed on high alert.
Since the formal conclusion of the United States military’s combat mission in Iraq at the end of 2021, this is no longer a concern. Of course, Iraq is still dealing with a variety of problems on the domestic front, but it does not appear like combating piracy is at the top of its priority list. Copyright owners have a reason to be concerned about this.
Rightsholders Have Reported Iraq to the U.S. Trade Representative
It should come as no surprise, considering Iraq’s past, that the United States Trade Representative has frequently raised concerns about the country. While creating its Special 301 Report, a yearly list of countries that demand further attention owing to weaknesses in intellectual property that may be detrimental to U.S. enterprises, the USTR takes into consideration the comments of rightsholders as well as various indications from the public.
Although it does not immediately result in tangible action, the report is used as a bargaining chip at the highest diplomatic levels in order to “demand” that things be different. As a result, recommendations are given a great deal of weight and consideration.
The ideal situation is one in which assertive comments and claims made by rightsholders are supported by substantial proof. It isn’t always required for their stances to be noted in the USTR report, but as of late, the USTR has been asking more in-depth follow-up questions. This has resulted in several illuminating findings, including those pertaining to Iraq.
90% Are Pirates?
For example, in their statement, Miramax and beIN said that around ninety percent of the Iraqi populace consumes live sports events and other media content that has been stolen. This astonishing number has never been mentioned in any official report, and as a result, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has inquired as to “how these numbers are created.”
It is troublesome to refer to the nearly half of the population of Iraq that does not have access to even the most fundamental broadband connection as online pirates. And given that more than a third of all Iraqis are under the age of 14, a sizeable portion of the country’s pirates must also be quite young.
The previous week, Miramax and beIN provided a response to the issues posed by the USTR. In their explanation, they stated that the assertions regarding Iraq and Algeria originate from local connections and partners in addition to their own in-depth, independent expertise.
“These estimations were established by beIN based on interactions with contacts and commercial partners on the ground in both countries. These figures are also influenced by the significant and independent knowledge that beIN possesses regarding pirate networks in Iraq and Algeria,” Miramax and beIN wrote in their article.
The corporations go on to say that the 90% piracy rate in Iraq “should not come as a surprise” because the region has been recognised as a “piracy hotspot” by experts from outside the companies.
When we looked at the study that was quoted, we saw that it did not make any explicit reference to Iraq or Algeria. The report makes a broad reference to North Africa and the Middle East as “piracy hotspots,” but it does not provide any specific figures to back up this claim.
Although while we have no reason to doubt that piracy is common in Iraq (as well as Algeria), there does not appear to be any concrete evidence to support the assertion that 90% of the population is comprised of pirates. Making such big and powerful statements in such a crucial proposal without providing sufficient proof may cause some people to raise their eyebrows.
Insufficient Enforceability or Evidence?
The follow-up inquiries that the USTR has posed to beIN, Miramax, and other holders of rights are mostly demands for further proof to support the assertions that have been made. Yet, responses frequently mention third-party sources rather than providing specific information.
For instance, beIN stated that it ‘knew’ that it would be extremely challenging for rightsholders to persuade a public prosecutor in Algeria to initiate a copyright prosecution against pirates. It would appear that the majority of beIN’s remarks are based on advice from its local counsel, despite the fact that the USTR sought further information on certain challenges.
“a copyright infringement case, either civil or criminal, has not yet been tried to be filed in Algeria by beIN. Nonetheless, Algerian counsel has warned beIN that it would be exceedingly difficult for an audiovisual copyright owners to succeed in civil litigation against an infringement. This is according to the advice that was provided.
In addition, the statement provided by beIN states, “According to Algerian lawyers, it would be similarly difficult for an audiovisual copyright holder to convince an Algerian prosecutor to initiate criminal action.”
The same may be said about the “paucity of legal enforcement alternatives in Iraq,” as described by beIN in its report to the United States Government. This assertion is mostly founded on the information provided by third parties rather than personal experience.
“beIN has received expert advice that owing to the pervasive political corruption in Iraq, legal measures against significant infringers are unlikely to succeed,” was the response given by beIN. “beIN has obtained professional advice that due to the pervasive political corruption in Iraq,”
Both beIN and Miramax do give certain names of ‘pirate’ services that are rumoured to have positive relations with the local government. Because of this, there is a lack of enforcement options, including prosecutions, which leads to corruption.
“According to what beIN is aware of, the owners and operators of Earthlink, Chaloos, and iStar (three prominent Iraqi media pirates) have a substantial amount of influence among Iraqi government officials, both at the federal and regional levels.
The broadcaster makes the observation that despite their widespread influence and renown, there has been no criminal action taken against any of these three pirates in Iraq as of yet. “This helps explain the absence of criminal action to date in Iraq,” the broadcaster says.
Claims quite similar to this one were made the year before. Although this certainly seems troubling and credible, the assertions were based on reports from third-party sources rather than real proof. This is the second time that this has occurred. At the very least, based on what we have seen thus far.
The issue that has to be answered is whether or not the USTR thinks it is safe to repeat these claims in its highly publicised Special 301 report. It would appear from the inquiries that have been asked that the Office would like to have more specific information.
When there are more rightsholders, there are more questions.
In addition to the contributions from beIN and Miramax, the absence of specific details is brought up in some of the other comments as well. For instance, the Premier League also discusses the Shabakaty and Chaloos services, mentioning the fact that local rightsholders informed the Iraqi Government about them.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) requested that the Premier League offer further detail on these reporting attempts and how the government reacted; however, the football organisation has stated that it is unable to disclose any information.
The Premier League reacted by saying that it was unable to disclose any additional specific facts since it had not been personally involved in any attempts to take enforcement action against the services in issue. “We are unable to provide any precise details,” the Premier League said.
In conclusion, what has been shown here demonstrates that some rightsholders’ concerns regarding governments’ lack of copyright regulations rely on reports from third-party sources. [Citation needed] Even while these might be illuminating, in order to put a nation on the Special 301 Watchlist, there should preferably be some facts that can be verified as well.
Leave a Reply