SPA regrets that the Assembly of the Republic has approved the proposal of a law that grants the government authorization to legislate on the decriminalization of the commercial use of protected content. With this measure, adopted on 29 March with the favorable votes of PS, PCP and BE, abstention from CDS-PP and PSD against votes, public use for commercial purposes of audio and video recordings stops being a crime of usurpation and shall be the subject of misconduct. It should be recalled that copyright is one of the rights of man,as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, as such, has constitutional consecration, expressly referred to in Article 42 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, in the chapter on personal rights, freedoms and guarantees, whose violation constitutes within the scope of ordinary law, in abstract, the practice of a crime.
Portugal was not the only case in Europe where the legal framework establishes as a crime the public execution of works protected by copyright without the authorization of the respective rightholders. Violation of this right is a crime in countries such as the Netherlands, Slovakia, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Switzerland or Belgium, but unfortunately the Portuguese government has now the opportunity to change into a mere misconducts.
Irrespective of the amounts that may be involved, SPA considers that this legislative route undermines the ethical principles which must continue to guide life in society and exacerbate the loss of the rights of creators. SPA, in due time, sent to the Chairman of the Committee on Constitution, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees of the Assembly of the Republic a proposal duly substantiated on the rule under consideration, but which was unfortunately not accepted. The cooperative of the Portuguese authors continues, as always, to dialogue with the government always in the intransigent defence of national creators and culture in general and hopes that their arguments can still be accepted.
Lisbon, April 3, 2018