Brazil has been on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Watch List since 2007. This designation reflects significant concerns with respect to high levels of counterfeiting and piracy in Brazil, including with respect to Internet piracy and online sales of counterfeit goods. It is important to be aware of this situation when buying or selling content online.
Businesses that locate content that infringes their rights online may be able to contact Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to attempt to resolve their concerns, in the event that the ISP hosts the infringing content. Businesses also can contact Brazilian enforcement authorities to explore potential criminal action. With respect to potential civil actions, businesses should be aware that generally ISPs will not be found civilly liable for damages resulting from content generated by third parties. Thus, companies should be aware that their civil actions against an ISP, based on online sales of counterfeit goods may not be successful. On the other hand, ISPs that host content infringing on copyrights or neighboring rights may be found civilly liable, if the ISP does not remove content in a timely matter after notice has been given by the rights holder. The legislation in this area is still developing in Brazil, so companies may wish to consult local counsel if they have any concerns.
Businesses seeking to market in Brazil also may wish to consider registering their trademark(s) as domain name(s) ending in “.br,” which is the country-code top-level domain (TDL) for Brazil. Registering trademarks in country-code TLDs may be helpful in establishing a local market presence. Defensively registering trademarks as domain names also helps ensure against cybersquatters, i.e., bad actors that register others’ trademarks as domain names in bad faith. Domain names typically can be registered for future use, thus preserving the company’s options for expansion. The .br TLD, unlike some country code TLDs (ccTLD), has an administrative dispute resolution policy for addressing cybersquatting. Court litigation also remains an option for instances of cybersquatting.
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.