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Peru: Crimes Against Copyright and Against the Environment

(Oct. 22, 2008) On October 1, 2008, President Alan Garcia Perez of Peru promulgated Law 29263, which amends several articles of the Criminal Code as well as several articles of the General Law on the Environment. The amended articles of the Criminal Code are on copyright. They deal with penalties for the reproduction, publication, distribution, and circulation of a work without the authorization of the author. The commission of these crimes is aggravated when the reproduction, distribution, or public communication is carried out for commercial purposes or other economic advantage, with alteration or suppression of the name or pseudonym of the author, producer, or title holder. Aggravation of this crime also occurs when devices are created to bypass the protection destined to impede or restrict copies of works.

In the prosecution of copyright-related cases, the Code now allows for the preventive seizure of the copies and materials, devices, or means used for the perpetration of the illegal activity. In some cases, the seizure may include the profits and any documentary evidence related to the alleged crimes. The judge may, upon the request of the Ministry of Justice, order a search of the location where the crime is alleged to have been perpetrated. Where an individual is found guilty under these provisions, all copies, materials, devices, and means used in the perpetration of the crimes will be seized and destroyed, unless otherwise ordered by the judicial authority.

Law 29263 also includes new Criminal Code provisions that criminalize:

  • actions that avoid or attempt to avoid technological measures used by producers of phonograms, performers, and authors to protect any work protected by copyright;
  • the use of products and services designed or used to avoid technological measures;
  • the suppression or alteration of any information on copyright handling;
  • the manufacture, sale, distribution, or storage of fake labels, title pages and packing, computer manuals, and licenses; and
  • violations related to satellite signals.

Law 29263 also amends Title XIII of the Criminal Code, on crimes against the environment. With regard to pollution offenses, penalties are imposed on those who provoke or dump emissions of toxic gases, noise, filtrations, or pollutant radiation in the atmosphere, the soil, or terrestrial, maritime, or underground waters that may cause harm, alteration, or serious damage to the environment, the quality of the environment, or environmental health in violation of laws, regulations, or allowable maximum limits. Offenses are aggravated crimes where there is falsification or hiding of information, hindering of pollution control activities, and acting in secret. Penalties are also imposed in cases of non-compliance with regulations on the management of solid waste and illegal trafficking in hazardous waste. Aggravation of the above offenses will incur increased penalties.

With specific reference to crimes against natural resources, sanctions are imposed for:

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    trafficking in species of protected wildlife, fauna, and flora;

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    trafficking in aquatic

    species of protected wildlife, flora, and fauna;

  • fishing of protected aquatic species;
  • plundering of protected wildlife, flora, and fauna;
  • trafficking in genetic resources, with aggravated offenses;
  • crimes against forests (proceeding without a proper license or authorization);
  • trafficking in timber-yielding forest products;
  • obstruction of proceedings in an investigation or verification related to activities of protected species of fauna and flora;
  • improper use of agricultural land;
  • authorization of activity against the plans for and uses of natural resources allowed by law; and
  • alteration of the environment or landscape.
  • The final two chapters of Title XIII concern the responsibility of public officials. Public officials are prohibited from providing false information in evaluations or reports that they are required by law to prepare. There are also precautionary measures and provisions for the exclusion or reduction of sanctions for persons who provide truthful timely, and important information in an investigation conducted by the Ministry of Justice or in the criminal court procedure phase. Articles of the Law on forest protection (310, 310-A, 310-B and 310-C) will come into force on January 1, 2009. (Ley 29263, EL PERUANO [Official Gazette], Oct. 2, 2008, available at http://www.congreso.gob.pe/ntley/Imagenes/Leyes/29263.pdf.)