Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Brazilians consider free use of sponsored works

The 21 May 2009 issue of the World Media Law Report carries a feature by José Mauro Decoussau Machado, of Pinheiro Neto Advogados (Sao Paulo, Brazil), on the Brazilian government's current thoughts regarding Federal Law N. 8.313 (the "Rouanet Law"). This law was enacted in order to incentivise Brazilian cultural and artistic activities, providing tax-efficiency for sponsorship of cultural activities. This policy is reportedly successful, in that 2008 saw the investment of US$ 500 million in a wide variety of cultural projects.

The Minister of Culture recently created a draft Bill to amend this law. One controversial proposal would let the Federal Government use, for educational purposes, any works which enjoyed the benefit of this law without the need for payment of royalties to the authors, or indeed any further authorisation. Critics claim that this would be unconstitutional, as the Brazilian Constitution expressly grants authors the exclusive right to use and authorise the use of their works. Others fear that authors would opt out of the Rouanet Law to avoid the subsequent non-paid use of the work by the government.

The government's response to criticims of the proposed amendments is awaited.

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