Accepted paper:

From piracy to the original: the regularisation of retail of Ecuadorian cinema

Authors:

Jose Carlos G Aguiar (University of Leiden)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks into the regulation of retail of Ecuadorian cinema and the conversion of 'piracy' vending into original copies of movies in Quito and Guayaquil.

Paper long abstract:

Since the late 20th century the political economy of neoliberal capitalism has propagated criminalising discourses and policies to counter the copying and free circulation of cultural contents. The so-called 'piracy', that is, the unauthorised reproduction of cultural commodities, is defined as a serious criminal activity organised by international mafias. Opposed to these perceptions of global mafias and crime, there are countless men and women who earn an income with the retail of 'pirated' music, films and designs in street economies and marketplaces. Ecuador is perhaps the first country that has developed an alternative to the dominant discourses on piracy. Since 2010, the associations of sellers of pirated goods have sought a dialogue with the national government of Rafael Correa in order to 'formalise' they trade activities. With success, these associations and the National Institute for Intellectual Property of Ecuador, have developed a programme to convert the trade in pirated DVDs into original films. Under this scheme, the profits are equality shared among the seller, the movie producer and the government. This paper presents ethnographic material collected in Quito and Guayaquil to explore alternative views on copyrights, and better understand the notions of morality, honor and legality in the context of informal trade.

panel P009
Emerging economic futures: the intersections of informality and formality [Anthropology of Economy Network]