Always a useful source of news from Eastern Europe, the Petosevic newsletter reports ("Georgian Authors Society to Monitor Audio-Video Stores and Piracy Websites", 21 June 2011) that the Georgian Authors’ Society plans to start actively monitoring all stores selling audio and audiovisual material, and all websites offering pirated material in Georgia, with an aim to putting an end to the illegal distribution of music files and computer software in that country.
According to local estimates, unauthorised downloading of movies, games and mp3 tracks has caused a 30-40 percent drop in demand for CDs and DVDs, despite a range of tariffs which is quite steep for local inhabitants, where the average monthly income of a family in 2005 stood at just US$200; fines currently range from 205 euro (US$300) to 1,235 euro (US$1,800) for unlicensed use, rising to between 1,235 euro (US$1,800) and 2,060 euro (US$3,000) for repeat offenders.
The Georgian Authors’ Society Director Giga Kobaladze is quoted as hoping that, within 6-12 months, the majority of illegal discs will disappear from the market, adding that the legislation clearly defines the sanctions against the illegal use of audio and audiovisual material, but that consistent monitoring has never been carried out. It is likely that monitoring will bring some sort of result pretty soon, since it is believed that the vast majority of sales outlets for recorded materials sell unauthorised products.
The National Intellectual Property Centre (SAKPATENTI) welcomes this initiative, noting that there is an urgent need for improving copyright protection.