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Viewing cable 09SANJOSE1132, COSTA RICAN IPR EVENT LINKS PIRATED GOODS TO ORGANIZED CRIME

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09SANJOSE1132 2009-12-11 22:10 2011-03-02 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-02/Investigacion.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0361
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #1132/01 3452238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 112233Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0114
INFO WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0110
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 001132 
 
SIPDIS 
DEPT FOR EBB/TPP/IPE JURBAN AND LHUGHES 
PLEASE PASS TO USTR AMALITO AND DOLIVER 
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA FOR PAO 
AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO FOR PAO AEMERSON 
AMEMBASSY MEXICO FOR JSALAZAR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR PREL PGOV CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICAN IPR EVENT LINKS PIRATED GOODS TO ORGANIZED CRIME 
 
REF: SAN JOSE 168; 2006 PANAMA 2015 
 
1.  SUMMARY:  On December 2, Embassy San Jose sponsored an 
intellectual property rights (IPR) event featuring the screening of 
National Geographic's Illicit, a film about the nefarious links 
between pirated consumer goods and transnational crime networks. 
We highly recommend screening the film Illicit by other Posts to 
raise public awareness as a means to combat IPR enforcement 
challenges.  Moving forward, we will explore the possibility of 
airing the film on Costa Rican national television.  We also will 
develop a webpage devoted to IPR, provide Illicit DVDs to 
educational institutions for lending purposes, hold a follow-on 
speaker program in 2010, and consider linking Costa Rican officials 
with Panamanian counterparts to discuss the theme of falsified 
medicines.  End summary. 
 
 
 
------------------ 
 
WHY SUCH AN EVENT? 
 
------------------ 
 
 
 
2.  As outlined in Post's IPR strategy (reftel A), advancing the 
enforcement of IPR crimes in Costa Rica is difficult and fraught 
with legal and institutional hurdles.  We concluded that we needed 
a twofold public message:  (1) IPR promotes both commercial and 
cultural innovation -- an advantage to the Costa Rican economy and 
(2) the purchase of a pirated good is not an innocent purchase but 
an "economic vote" supporting not only illicit merchandise but also 
transnational crime networks.  Furthermore, while the Costa Rican 
Attorney General asserts that his office does not have the 
resources to pursue IPR crime, he also states that his office will 
prosecute organized crime.  Therefore, we want to demonstrate the 
connection between IPR and organized crime so as to (1) raise 
public awareness of the nefarious and underworld nature of pirated 
goods and (2) show the Costa Rican prosecutors and judiciary that 
IPR issues and organized crime are inextricably linked and cannot 
be compartmentalized, resources notwithstanding. 
 
 
 
---------------------- 
 
WHY THE MOVIE ILLICIT? 
 
---------------------- 
 
 
 
3.  National Geographic's film Illicit is based on a book of the 
same title by Moises Naim of Foreign Policy magazine.  The film 
uses the broad assortment of pirated goods from the obvious such as 
DVDs and fashion goods to the not so obvious such as car parts (as 
a consequence of reverse engineering) and falsified medicines to 
demonstrate the overwhelming scope of the problem.  We liked the 
idea of showcasing a film produced by an organization with a 
sterling reputation based on a book by a well-respected scholar 
with Latin American roots.  In addition, the film does not focus on 
pirated goods as an issue of complaint by multi-national 
corporations; rather, the focus is on multi-national criminal 
networks. 
 
 
 
4.  We considered screening the film in English early in 2009, but 
concluded that the potential audience would be too small.  For the 
December 2 screening, we presented a dubbed Spanish-language 
translation of excellent quality.  Thus, Illicit's availability in 
Spanish became a key driver for the event.  The American Chamber of 
Commerce (AmCham) in Mexico produced the Spanish version of Illicit 
only months ago and the distributor, On Screen Films, graciously 
made it available to us. 
 
 
 
---------------------------- 
 
WHO SUPPORTED SUCH AN EVENT? 
 
---------------------------- 
 
 
 
5.  Given the Econ section's lack of budget for such an event, we 
solicited support from six sponsors.  The lead sponsor was the 
Costa Rican-American Cultural Center.  The Center's Director Karl 
Schmack welcomed the opportunity to open his 300 seat auditorium 
for the screening of the film.  We then requested donations from 
five organizations: 
 
 
 
-- Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), 
 
-- Chamber of Costa Rican Exporters (CADEXCO), 
 
-- Costa Rican Chamber of Information Technology and Communication 
(CAMTIC), 
 
-- Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private 
Business Sector (UCCAEP), and 
 
-- Central American Federation of Pharmaceutical Laboratories 
(FEDEFARMA). 
 
 
 
The donations covered auditorium operating costs and refreshments 
for the reception following the movie screening.  Please see the 
attachment for a digital version of the event program. 
 
 
 
6.  Preceding the film screening, well-known Costa Rican biologist 
Pedro Leon delivered a speech that counter-balanced the dark theme 
of Illicit with the positive theme of intellectual property 
development and registration.  Leon, currently Director of the 
GOCR's Peace With Nature initiative, noted his prior experience as 
an academic biologist in producing and registering intellectual 
property.  He explained that university researchers sign over their 
intellectual property rights to the university -- without question 
-- and emphasized in his talk that it is irresponsible on the part 
of the researcher and the university not to register intellectual 
property.  The "loss of rights" sacrifices the potential yield of 
income in the future. 
 
 
 
--------- 
 
WHO CAME? 
 
--------- 
 
 
 
7.  Attendees included representatives of the sponsoring chambers, 
members of the diplomatic corps, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, law 
firms, university officials, students, and prosecutors and judges. 
The Italian Ambassador noted his approval of the film even though 
one "chapter" focuses on organized crime problems in Naples.  The 
German DCM praised the direct and hard-hitting impact of the film. 
The British DCM was impressed by the film's depiction of the 
overwhelming scope of the issue.  The film's impact was palpable 
throughout the hour-long feature event.  At the conclusion, the 
estimated 150 participants sat in stunned silence and quietly 
exited the theater as if departing from a court sentencing. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
HOW CAN WE BUILD ON THE IMPACT OF THIS EVENT? 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
8.  Looking forward, we plan on continuing Illicit's impact by 
providing DVDs to Centro Cultural, AmCham, and Costa Rican's 
Judicial School.  In April or May, we will produce a program on 
pirated goods through the speaker program sponsored by Post's 
Public Affairs office.  We will also explore the possibility of 
airing the film on Costa Rican national television (contingent on 
approval by National Geographic).  Other ideas include linking key 
officials of the Panamanian national health system (who are 
prominently spotlighted in the film due to the 2006 public health 
disaster caused by falsified medicines, reftel B) with the Costa 
Rican Ministry of Health.  Centro Cultural was electrified by the 
prospects of expanding its ties to the Embassy by using its theater 
for more Embassy sponsored educational programs and even linking 
documentary presentations like Illicit as part of its English 
language training programs on site. 
 
 
 
9.  We received requests for more information on how to acquire the 
film.  Interest ranged from public awareness to incorporation into 
Hospira's company training program.  Further, we will develop an 
IPR webpage as part of Embassy San Jose's website and present links 
to IPR resources and two news clips:  Cracking Down, a 12 minute 
video clip produced by Seven Network Limited for its Sunday Night 
television program, and The Movie Pirates, a 60 Minutes segment 
produced by CBS News. 
 
 
 
------- 
 
COMMENT 
 
------- 
 
 
 
10.  We highly recommend screening the film Illicit in other 
countries with IPR enforcement challenges.  The event required the 
seamless cooperation by the Embassy's Economic and Public Affairs 
section and our AmCham organization.  The film's tough message 
confronts consumer complacency regarding pirated goods.  The film 
effectively shows consequences that range from the unpleasant to 
the ugly from the seemingly casual purchase of a pirated good. 
Illicit skewers the notion that cheap knock-offs deliver cachet by 
revealing the consequences of the "dark trade." 
BRENNAN