Piracy in Cuba

Francisco Castro

Thanks to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security’s resolution No. 32/2010, which contains the regulations on self-employed work, piracy is now legal in Cuba.

Anyone would go berserk and take immediate action if they discovered that some third party was enriching themselves on the fruit of that person’s labor.  This would especially be the case if they had put in lots of time, as well as intellectual and physical effort, and their subsistence depended on the profits from the appropriated venture.

Because of this, I went berserk when I discovered that the sudden and extensive proliferation of vendors of pirated CDs (of both musical and audiovisual content) is something that is now patently legal.

We’ve seen madness in this country, but this is unheard of.

I don’t know if it’s owing to ignorance on the part of the minister of Labor and Social Security — ignorance that results in sleaziness — but this activity (described in Annex 1 of the resolution concerning the “buyers and sellers of disks”) constitutes a crime.  This is recognized by law in several countries – including our own!

It’s not by chance that the little informational blurbs inserted in plastic CD cases read: “All rights Reserved.  Duplication, public execution and radio-television broadcasting prohibited.” The same restrictions hold for DVDs, which have warning labels that state: “The violation of the owner’s rights constitutes a violation of the law and implies responsibilities on the part of the offender that may result in civil or criminal prosecution.”

Perhaps the fault lies in the fact that these inserts have small writing, making them difficult to read, even for those curious enough to take the time to look at these messages.  But everybody who has held the case of a music CD or an original movie DVD has seen the word “WARNING” inscribed across these.  That must have made them suspicious of something – clearly, anyone who has even the least bit of common sense.

Any user would feel the impact of the disappearance of these criminals, because the sole opportunities for obtaining the latest musical and audiovisual productions would disappear.  It also goes without saying that people would note the difference in prices, which are vastly lower if compared to the same products marketed in our stores.

Even the programming of Cuban radio and television would be affected if the laws were applied in our country to protect to owners of the rights to exhibit and commercialize works that are broadcast over our media, especially foreign television programs and movies.

Before sitting down to write this commentary, over the last few days I talked about this issue with several artists of the screen, stage and recording studios.  I asked all of them, separately, if they would sign a letter directed to the ministries of Culture and Labor asking that piracy be recognized as a crime and that the resolution be eliminated.

Incredibly, a CD producer responded to me saying that this wasn’t his problem.

I begged God — me, someone who’s not the least bit religious — that this be the sole artist who thinks like that.

3 thoughts on “Piracy in Cuba

  • It would be criminal for people in a country, like Cuba or many others, kept poor by imperialism to pay royalties to businesses in the imperialist countries. Very little of such realties would go to the artists in any case, and many artists in the imperialist countries are quite wealthy.

    For those artists in the imperialist countries, or elsewhere, who are not well-off materially, perhaps they could be compensated by giving them rights to distribute Cuban music or artistic works in exchange for the distribution of their works in Cuba.

  • There is no market for CD´s in Cuba, who would pay 10 USD or more ? Second the companies overcharge the consumer. And 3rd everybody is copying anyway. So please stop crying and get some reality check. If the bands are good enough they make their millions on their tours anyway.

  • The original artists get their revenge, however, when the purchasers of these illicit goods attempt to play their CDs! By the fourth or fifth cut they start to skip-skip-skip, so that, in effect, one has really only purchased a P.R. ” sampler!” Let the buyer beware!

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