Argentina is on the 2009 priority watch list of the International Intellectual Property Alliance. Sounds ominous sharing the list with China, Pakistan, and Russia. But, oh, wait, there’s also Canada….Canada?!

The Alliance produced a 7-page report on the woes of intellectual property protection in Argentina (PDF).

Of course, if you live in Buenos Aires then it comes as no surprise. We’ve all seen the guys hawking music compilations on the bus. (And I’ve been tempted to buy the best of Sandro.) And there’s all sorts of software and movies for sale on the streets.

As a former academic librarian I was astounded when I first saw the flagrant copyright violations in the copyshops surrounding universities. But, then again, educators here don’t seem to have much choice with the inefficient libraries and the mere lack of most scholarly publications for purchase (or even in print) in Argentina.

The country report on Argentina’s copyright violations indicate that around 600 million songs per year are illegally downloaded within Argentina in comparison to an estimated 150 million songs legally purchased.

The report cites Feria La Salada as “the most notorious street location” with its 50,000 visitors a day. And, wouldn’t you know it, like any good retail operation theses days La Salada even has its own web site (which oddly is not cited in the report).

The report calls for many more regulations and stiffer penalties, stating “the average criminal piracy case takes two to fours years to reach a verdict in the first instance, and that
usually results in no jail time or jail time is suspended because the judges do not consider intellectual property crimes as serious offenses.” That’s probably true. But when I see people marching around about inseguridad I’m sure a lot more is on their mind than intellectual property theft.