Information Technology in Peru

Legal Environment

Peru has taken steps to create a robust legal framework for the protection of intellectual property, both in specific laws and amendments to the political constitution. Domain name issues are resolved by the arbiter of the .pe top-level domain, the Peruvian Scientific Network. Software piracy is a continuing problem in Peru, although some progress has been made in the late 1990s in combating the problem.

Intellectual Property

Peru has a government institute, the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI), devoted to promoting competition and the creation and enforcement of an intellectual property regime. Peru's intellectual property framework primarily outlined by two laws. The Law of Industrial Property (Legislative Decree 823) regulates patents, distinct models of use and trademarks, among others. It defines the registration procedure and the limits of the protections granted. The Law of Author's Rights (Legislative Decree 822) describes two parts of the creator's rights. First is the moral right of the author, which cannot be transferred. The law also discusses the right of the author to use their work to obtain economic profits. This component of the author's rights is transferable and is described like personal property in the Peruvian Civil Code. These laws were drafted in 1996, and draw upon other statutes of Peruvian law. The 1993 Political Constitution recognizes intellectual, artistic, scientific and technical innovations and creations as the property of their creator as well as the right of the creator to establish property rights over their creation.

In August of 2000, the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property set out to create a more equitable method for valuation of intellectual property, and solicited input from all sectors of the economy. This initiative arose in order to create a valuation regime that is seen as legitimate by all affected sectors.

Domain Names

By virtue of being the first Internet service provider in Peru, the Peruvian Scientific Network (known by its Spanish initials, RCP) is responsible for management of the .pe top-level domain. Research discovered no serious domain name disputes or issues.

Software Piracy

Software piracy remains a serious problem in Peru, particularly among home users and small companies. As of 1998, a representative in Peru for the Business Software Alliance estimated that 75 percent of the local businesses still used illegal software and that there was an overall software piracy rate of 66 percent in Peru. The highest level of piracy is in the education sector, where almost 85 percent of software used is illegal. It is estimated that in 1997, software companies lost $31 million in sales in Peru due to software piracy. In 1998, despite a decrease in the percentage of pirated software in use, losses increased to $37.5 million. However, by 1999, revenue losses decreased to $27.2 million. The government, in conjunction with the Business Software Alliance, began to enforce the anti-piracy laws on the books, and software piracy has dropped from 95 percent to 63 percent between 1993 and 1998.(50)

Of course, as noted at the outset of this report, it is difficult to gauge the impact of the recent resignation of President Fujimori. He had been an important supporter of pro-business and intellectual property reform in Peru, and it will be interesting to see who succeeds him and what policies will be pursued.

Last update: December 19, 2000 by Jeffrey S. Bernstein.