José Rodrigo Roque Díaz, the director of the Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property (IMPI) said this week that combating piracy and copyright infringement is a “much more important” issue facing Mexico than drug trafficking.
In an article posted at Spanish news site Radio Fórmula, Díaz stated piracy is “a brutal problem for Mexican society and the world.” Furthermore, he compared piracy to “the theft of a house or a vehicle.”
To put his claims into perspective, earlier this year Microsoft announced counterfeit copies of its ubiquitous Office software were being manufactured and sold in the country by the notorious “La Familia” drug cartel. In March a report titled “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies” alluded to the fact that in countries such as Mexico the price of software – when compounded with relatively low incomes – is a key motivating factor for content theft.
Mexican drug trafficking cartels have also made their way into the U.S., leading to increased violence in southern states and the spread of their reach.
Díaz’s concerns about his country’s piracy issues have drawn criticism from those who disagree with framing the crime as worse than drug trafficking, as the latter often has life-or-death implications.
The director admitted the country’s patent submissions are lacking. For every one million Mexicans, he said, only half a patent submission is filed. To boost that number, steps must be taken.
“We must always protect intellectual property, especially that which aims at innovation,” Díaz said.
An uphill battle considering the seemingly vicious combination of piracy, economic woes and lack of copyright protection.