22 September 2011

Here we go again, de novo

Olympics, Olympics, Olympics. Copa, Copa, Copa. Rio 2016, Brazil 2014, Olimpiada, Brazil 2014, 2014 Brasil, World Cup FIFA,Mundial da FIFA, FIFA, FI-FA-FO-DA, FeeFã, Olympics, Olympics, ParaOlympics. O-limp-ics. Shout it from the rooftops, sing it in a taxi, whisper it while making love because EVERYTHING for now and forever is about the bloody mega-events: economy, politics, city planning [sic], health care, transparency, security[sic], media, and the pqp. But, if you happen to be whispering these sweet nothings into the hairy ears of Carlos Nuzman, Ricardo Teixeira, Jerome Valcke or their lawyers you are subject to criminal proceedings for copyright violation (and bad taste).
The “Law of the Cup” (LdC) emerged from its black box into the light of day this week, irritating everyone except the ruling party panderers. There are a number of items that are particularly noxious:
Chapter 2, Section 1 of the LdC deals with the protection and exploration of commercial rights for the Confederations’ and World Cup. The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) is the target of the law as their existing statutes have to be bent over to FeeFã's whispering will.
In Article 5.1.1, the INPI will not require that FeeFã prove that a given item is associated with their events. This will allow just about any visual or textual reference to come under the aegis of copyright protection statutes, thereby eliminating the possibility of non-associated businesses and vendors to make money.  Thus, using the “Brazil 2014” in any context could be considered a violation. Imagine a tourist agency’s ad: “Come to Brazil in 2014”. Illegal. Rio Copa, illegal.  In article 10 of the same section,  FeeFã  will not have to pay any money to INPI regarding the processing of claims they make.
Section 2 dealing with “areas of restricted commerce and access routes” is the shortest and perhaps most worrying. All levels of Brazilian government will assure that FIFA is granted the exclusive right to sell everything in the “official event locations, their immediacies, and in the principal access routes.” Hmm. Let’s suppose that some lefty anarchist wants to take the Metrô instead of driving to the Maracanã to see a World Cup match. That means that every road leading to all of the Metrô stations in the city becomes a principal access route and that FeeFã could tell the city to police all of those routes for non-official commerce.  What would happen to you if you decided to set up a t-shirt stand? Section 4 details your fate: three months to one year in prison or a fine. This is nothing short of the privatization of public space that is intended to maximize profits for FeeFã and their FeeFiliates.
So far, so bad, but nothing terribly surprising.
One of the elements that got Romário, yes Romário of the 1994 world cup winning side and now a federal deputy, up in a huff was the inclusion of a clause that would allow all levels of government to declare holidays during game days. The Rio de Janeiro state government has already altered the school calendar for 2014 to have the winter break occur during the World Cup. Now, any city can claim a holiday because a football game is going to happen. This is to reduce the inevitable traffic problems because the transportation projects are clearly not going to be finished on time,or as Romário said, "this will put makeup on the problems that we are going to have." More on that later. I personally think it’s great and that these special holidays will really generate some serious cross-cultural understanding. For example, the fine, yet perhaps sheltered, citizens of Cuiabá will have a holiday to celebrate the scintillating match between Ukraine and Cameroon, giving everyone a full day to find these places on a map. Jamaica x South Korea in Natal…feriado!  Paraguay x Norway in Salvador…feriado! All of the Brazil games...5 national holidays in one month! Brilliant!
The freebies of the LdC are extensive. We know that the stadiums are all built with public money and that they get handed over to FeeFã for months. But FeeFã will also get free secutiry, health and medical services (read: termas), vigilância sanitaria (whatever that is), and will also slide through customs and immigration.
Article 8 describes in the most minimal details the development of a separate court system to process FIFA’s legal needs. Similar to the military tribunals in Guantanamo or Iraq, these will process and judge cases specifically related to FeeFã’s occupation of the country.
Chapter Three, Article 26, XI gives possible good news for those who decide to leave your conscience at home, overcome the global financial downturn and spend ten thousand dollars on a two week trip: “spectators who posses tickets…and individuals who can demonstrate official involvement with the events…considering a valid passport sufficient for the visa” will “have a visa issued without any restriction to nationality, race or creed.” This could mean that some visa fees will be waved, or not, I’m not sure and neither is anyone else.
Enough about the LdC. It’s more or less what we expected and somewhat less than FeeFã wanted. Next up, the strikes, increases in costs, and organizational nightmares for the Oh-limp-ics.


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