Was Barbados denied DVD Region 1 Status because of Police Corruption?

Unholy Alliance: Sergeant Paul Vaughan (left) & Charles Leacock - Barbados Director Of Public Prosecutions

Barbados Police Intellectual Property investigator took $56,500 in bribes while US Embassy wondered why no enforcement!

WikiLeaks US Embassy Cable: Barbados Police Sergeant Paul Vaughan “limited success” stopping pirated DVDs, Intellectual Property

Two years before corrupt Sergeant Paul Vaughan of the Barbados Police Copyright Infringement Unit was arrested and charged with taking bribes to allow a counterfeit DVD “pirate” to operate, a US Embassy cable lamented the fact that he and the Barbados Police were unsuccessful in stopping the blatant copying of intellectual property like movie and music DVDs.

“Although he appears committed to his work, Vaughan has had limited success stopping IPR violators. Local music is often available only in pirated form and video store employees blatantly copy tapes behind the counter during working hours. Hopefully, the USPTO training will encourage Vaughan in his fight to better enforce IPR in Barbados.”

February 3, 2006 WikiLeaks US Embassy Cable:  06BRIDGETOWN232 (full text at end of post)

The frustration of US Ambassador Mary Kramer is plain throughout the February 3, 2006 cable. It looks like it never occurred to her that the reason why no enforcement was happening was that the DVD pirates were paying off the very police officer in charge of copyright violations!

Almost two years later on November 13, 2007 another US Embassy cable repeated the frustration…

“the government needs to improve its enforcement of the anti-piracy laws. For example, shops openly sell and rent pirated CDs, videos, and DVDs.”

07BRIDGETOWN1420

BRIDGETOWN SUBMISSION FOR THE OPERATION OF THE CARIBBEAN BASIN ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT REPORT

Sgt. Paul Vaughan arrested, charges later dropped by friend

Then in September 2008 the news broke that Sgt. Vaughan had been arrested and charged with with corruptly accepting $56,500 in bribes between December 1, 2004 and April 30, 2007 from Evadney Cindy Bushell in return for protecting her from prosecution for selling pirated DVDs.

Please note the very specific amount of bribe money that was said to have been paid over several years. They didn’t pull that figure from a hat, you know.

As we predicted at the time, Charles Leacock, our corrupt Director of Public Prosecutions later withdrew all charges against his friend Paul Vaughan and that was the end of that. An insider source even told us ahead of time that the charges would be dropped when things quieted down. (See our MUST-READ STORIES here, here and here).

By some strange coincidence, the corrupt Barbados news media seems to have removed all news of Vaughan’s bribery charges from the internet. What a surprise!

As to the result of the DVD Piracy charges against the shopkeeper, Evadney Cindy Bushell, well – we can’t find any record of those charges anywhere. Again, what a surprise!

Commissioner of Police Dottin remains silent amidst the stench of corruption

We can’t find anything to indicate what happened to Bushell’s DVD Piracy charges, so we’ll speculate that the charges were dropped in a tit-for-tat deal so Sgt. Vaughan could be set free too. That’s justice in Barbados for you… you’re okay if you have an ace up your sleeve – but it doesn’t look good to the rest of the world. If that’s not the way it happened, perhaps Commission of Police Dottin can finally explain to the public what did happen. (We’ll print his response unedited right here. We’re waiting, Sir!)

Corruption has consequences: Barbados wanted a change to DVD Zone 1 – DENIED

Barbados DVD players are “officially” set to Zone 4 (Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, South America, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and much of Oceania) but let’s face it, most homes have a Zone 1 player.

According to a WikiLeaks cable, Stuart Mottley led a group to Washington to ask for a change to Zone 1 (USA, Canada, Bermuda). The request was obviously denied and we have to wonder…

Was Barbados denied DVD Zone 1 Status because of corruption by Sergeant Paul Vaughan and the Barbados Police Copyright Infringement Unit?

“According to Vaughan, Stuart Mottley, brother of Barbados Attorney General Mia Mottley, led a group of Barbadians to Washington to lobby the MPAA for Barbados to be in Region 1 for DVD sales (same as the U.S.) instead of Region 4 (Latin America). (Note: To protect Hollywood’s system of varying theatrical release dates by country, DVD players and disks are restricted by geographical region. A movie that is out on DVD in the U.S. may have just been released in movie theaters in Europe. Ensuring that DVDs only function in their intended region helps movie studios maximize profits and avoid a situation where a new movie is simultaneously in the theater and available on DVD. End Note.) According to an American who owns a movie theater in Barbados, most people on the island own Region 1 DVD players so restricting DVD imports to Region 4 limits the legitimate DVD sales market.”

… from the WikiLeaks US Embassy Cable February 3, 2006 WikiLeaks  06BRIDGETOWN232

Full cable published below. >>>>>>

VZCZCXYZ0001 PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHWN #0232/01 0341726 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 031726Z FEB 06 FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1816 INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 000232 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT FOR EB/TPP/IPE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2016 TAGS: ETRD KIPR KCRM PINR BB SUBJECT: BARBADOS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – STATUS AND STRATEGIES FOR BETTER ENFORCEMENT

Classified By: A/DCM Sheila Peters for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (U) This is an action cable. See ACTION REQUEST, paragraph 8.

¶2. (U) Note: This is not a Special 301 cable, but covers some of the same themes. Barbados has not historically been on the list for Special 301 review. End Note.

¶3. (C) Summary: Sergeant Paul Vaughan of the Barbados Police Force, upon returning from USG training on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement, gave EconOff an account of Barbados government policy on IPR enforcement and offered some strategies for enforcing IPR. Vaughan suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) station a representative in the Caribbean on a full-time basis to file civil suits protecting MPAA IPR and to serve as an expert witness in criminal IPR cases. He also informed EconOff of a push by some Barbadians to put the country in DVD Region 1 (U.S. and Canada) instead of Region 4 (Latin America). End Summary.

————
The Training
————

¶4. (SBU) Sergeant Paul Vaughan, head of the new (founded 2004) Copyright Infringement Unit of the Royal Barbados Police Force, attended a course the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Academy on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Alexandria, Virginia, from January 24-27. Upon his return to Barbados, he met with EconOff and expressed gratitude for the training, as well as sharing some ideas about improving IPR enforcement in Barbados.

——————————–
New Caribbean Role for the MPAA?
——————————–

¶5. (SBU) Vaughan suggested the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) station a representative in the Caribbean to bring civil IPR infringement lawsuits and serve as an expert witness in copyright infringement cases. He explained that, under Barbados law, only the person whose IPR rights have been violated (the MPAA) can bring a civil case and fight for damages. This legal constraints may explain why the police have had trouble prosecuting video stores for IPR infringement. Apparently, no one from the MPAA has sent anyone to Barbados to bring cases against IPR violators.

———————————
Barbados IPR Enforcement Strategy
———————————

¶6. (C) Vaughan outlined his plan to combat IPR violators in Barbados, saying his priorities are A) stopping street vendors who sell illegal music and videos/DVDs, B) fighting music piracy (especially of local artists), and C) halting DVD and video piracy in video stores. He also plans to intensify surveillance of illegal street vendors and video shops to prove his suspicion that such enterprises are connected to drug trafficking.

———————-
Region 1 for Barbados?
———————-

¶7. (C) According to Vaughan, Stuart Mottley, brother of Barbados Attorney General Mia Mottley, led a group of Barbadians to Washington to lobby the MPAA for Barbados to be in Region 1 for DVD sales (same as the U.S.) instead of Region 4 (Latin America). (Note: To protect Hollywood’s system of varying theatrical release dates by country, DVD players and disks are restricted by geographical region. A movie that is out on DVD in the U.S. may have just been released in movie theaters in Europe. Ensuring that DVDs only function in their intended region helps movie studios maximize profits and avoid a situation where a new movie is simultaneously in the theater and available on DVD. End Note.) According to an American who owns a movie theater in Barbados, most people on the island own Region 1 DVD players so restricting DVD imports to Region 4 limits the legitimate DVD sales market.

¶8. (SBU) Action Request: Please provide guidance as to how to respond to Sergeant Vaughan’s assertion that U.S. IPR rights can only be upheld if a person specifically authorized by the MPAA makes a complaint in a local court. Is this position consistent with the Trade Related Aspects of Intellecutal Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement? Also, what does the MPAA think about Barbados or the Caribbean as a whole switching to Region 1?

¶9. (C) Comment: Although he appears committed to his work, Vaughan has had limited success stopping IPR violators. Local music is often available only in pirated form and video store employees blatantly copy tapes behind the counter during working hours. Hopefully, the USPTO training will encourage Vaughan in his fight to better enforce IPR in Barbados.

KRAMER

Below: Copy of newspaper article in September of 2008

A POLICE SERGEANT who was once attached to the Copyright Infringement Unit appeared in District “A” Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with accepting bribes and perverting the course of justice.

Sergeant Paul Emmanuel Vaughn, 37, of Durette Gardens, Gemswick, St Philip, was released with a surety of $50 000 bail and has been ordered to hand over his travel documents to the court as part of his bail.

He will also be reporting to Oistins Police Station every Tuesday and Friday until his return to court on November 11.

Vaughn was not required to plead to the charge that being a member of the Royal Barbados Police Force, he did corruptly receive $56 500 for himself between December 1, 2004, and April 30, 2007, from Evadney Cindy Bushell as a fee or reward for forbearing to prosecute her for infringement of the Copyright Act.

He was also charged that with intent to pervert the course of justice, he committed a series of acts which tended to pervert the course of public justice in that he received various sums totalling $56 000 to protect Bushell from prosecution for Copyright infringement.

In May 2007, Bushell, 43, a business owner of 120 Maynards Road, St Peter, appeared before the Bridgetown Traffic Court, charged with knowingly for sale DVD copies of the movie Spiderman 3 which she knew or had reason to believe were infringing the movie’s copyright.

The wheelchair-bound woman is free on bail.

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Police

7 responses to “Was Barbados denied DVD Region 1 Status because of Police Corruption?

  1. more of the same without consequences

    A third world country can always get a negotiated deal on price for quality downloads and DVD’s if they respect the millions of dollars that go into producing these movies and music abums and videos which are protected by copyright laws.

    Its no suprise that someone in the police was not enforcing the laws for years for a personal benefit. Isn’t that typical of Barbadians in authority to look after themselves and not the Barbadian consumer at large.

  2. Clean Life

    The corruption of one man holding a position of trust can taint the entire police force and the entire country. The big problem with making Barbados part of Region 1 is the fear of counterfeiting, otherwise we would have been Region 1 like Bermuda right from the start. It’s never going to happen now that Sgt. Vaughan proved we can’t be trusted.

  3. Pingback: Barbados: Pirating Scandal via Wikileaks · Global Voices

  4. J. Payne

    It is supposed to be based on what can be charged…. Because they don’t want anywhere that is Zone 1 selling for less than what it is in America? If they did so people people would just buy like madd in say Brazil and sell in America, Canada or elsewhere… The standard of Living in Bermuda is higher than the U.S. (let alone Barbados.) If Barbados is Zone 1, they would have to charge at least the same price in Barbados as in America.

  5. J. Payne

    Bermuda has more stature too because it is a British colony. Bermuda cannot negotiate anything with America because Britain is in-charge of Bermuda’s foreign affairs and national defence. When a British colony becomes independent, they are from then on in-charge of their own foreign affairs and national defence.

  6. Problem? -what problem?

    First of all, yuh has to see the problem as a problem.
    In local eyes, copying CD;’s and DVDs is NOT a problem, regardless of what the outside world thinks.

    Barbados and Bajans are NOT bound by outside thinking and until the rest of the world starts to think like us, Bajans will continue to do what the RH they please.
    -get it? WE are Independent!

    It’s kinda like the Soc. for a Quieter Barbados.
    A Quieter Barbados? better they had started a Soc. for a NOISIER Barbados, bcoz that woulda been a roaring success!
    My point is…maybe 200 old pharts (myself included, for be fair) considered the overly-noisy Bajan environment to be
    a social problem THAT CUD BE WORKED ON.
    Think again, boy! Noise is a PROBLEM??? LOL!
    Noise is AN ASSET!

    The outside world sees things thru white eyes
    Bajans see things thru black african eyes.
    Welcome to africa.
    -and we are supposed to be a developed country.??
    What a huge freakin corruption of statistical evidence,
    versus whuh really guh-dung…. ‘on de ground’ here.

    Life is different here at the centre of the universe.
    The outside world will eventually get used to us.
    They will learn to accommodate us. They have no choice. *wink*

    Besides… the $56.5K buy de man a new Toyota so he cud chossel at a more-better level.
    Whuh…. wunnuh gyne gi’ de man Wrong fuh dat?
    LOL, hear what I tell you?

    This place is Mickey Mouse Substandard from top to bottom
    and we are as equally far down the slippery slope as is America
    and that’s purty goddam BAD!

  7. yatinkiteasy

    I bought a US $28 DVD player in the US a few years back, and from a website I found (Google search) I used the supplied remote control to code it for all regions. It even plays Pal DVDs..I don`t understand what the problem is…it does not exist as far as I am concerned.