The Proposed Reform Of Venezuelan Constitution: Cultural And Intellectual Property Issues (IP-Watch)

During the last few months across Venezuela at dozens of open forums -both on the streets and within institutions and in the media, there have been many discussions held among intellectuals, authors, copyright users, small traders, and government officers about the issue of author’s rights/ copyright. At stake was how to overcome a major contradiction in the current Venezuelan Constitution which had blocked the growing trend towards the sharing of arts, sciences, and knowledge. Eduardo Saman, a former head of the Venezuelan intellectual property organisation, SAPI, explained at these discussions that creative works are not a commodity that should be regarded simply as some kind of property. The limited term of copyright protection, which is a minimum of 50 years, has shown us that copyright is a social agreement between the creator and the State, and hence the profits arising from copyrighted works should be maintained in the hands of authors. Entrepreneurs only should have a limited income from copyrighted goods because, as service providers such as publishers, they merely reproduce and distribute copies and do not need to become the copyright owners of works.

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