Piracy in Cuba
March 7, 2011
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
I begged God — me, someone who's not the least bit religious — that this
be the sole artist who thinks like that.