Learn about the general World Cup Bill of Law sent to Congress today

19/09/2011 - 11:45
The bill that will start to be analyzed by Brazilian deputies and senators focuses on simplified entry visa procedures and access to work permits for foreigners for the period of the event, and the possibility of offering indemnity

This Monday September 14th the Federal Government sent the General World Cup Bill of Law to the National Congress for analysis. The bill addresses the last four of the eleven guarantees offered to FIFA to hold the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The bill that will start to be analyzed by Brazilian deputies and senators focuses on simplified entry visa procedures and access to work permits for foreigners for the period of the event, and the possibility of offering indemnity. It also establishes criteria to protect and exploit commercial rights and conditions for transmitting and retransmitting matches.

Among the points addressed in the bill are protection of associated marks, exclusivity guarantees for commercial exploitation of event spaces, simplification of visa procedures and exemption from legal fees in the federal justice system.

Fiscal guarantees are already covered by Law 12.350/2011. Other commitments are covered by the national legislation in force. See the Q&A set below prepared to clarify any doubts on the new law.

Questions and answers on the General World Cup Law.

1. What is the purpose of the General World Cup Law?

When Brazil presented its candidacy to host the 2014 World Cup the government offered FIFA a series of guarantees regarding the organization and staging of the event. Part of these commitments is covered by the national legislation in force. However, in order for the Federal Government to enforce the set of guarantees the bill of law needs to be approved by Congress. That is exactly what happened with the fiscal guarantees that are currently enshrined in Law 12.350/2011. As to other non-fiscal commitments, the Federal Government is proposing a bill to enact the 2014 General World Cup Law.

2. What issues are addressed in the bill?

The bill addresses the following issues:

a) Special procedure within the National Intellectual Property Institute (INPI) to protect marks and symbols related to the events.

b) Collaboration between the Federal Government, states, federal district and municipalities to ensure exclusivity for FIFA in commercial activities and commercial promotion in event venues.

c) FIFA ownership of event-related images, sounds and broadcasting rights.

d) Criminalization of conducts and practices that violate the protection of marks and symbols linked to the events, including ambush marketing.

e) Civil sanctions for other practices that violate the protection of marks and symbols related to the events.

f) Simplified entry visa procedure for foreigners who will work in the events or watch the matches.

g) Simplified procedure to grant work permits to foreigners who will work in the events.

h) Rules for the Federal Government's civil liability for acts related to the events.

i) Cancelation, return and reimbursement criteria for event tickets.

j) Rules for the Office of the Solicitor General's participation in lawsuits involving FIFA.

k) Definition of court fees charged by the federal justice system.

l) Provision of safety, health, sanitary surveillance, customs and immigration services by the Federal Government during the events.

3. Does the General Law violate national sovereignty?

No. Brazil exercised its sovereignty when it signed the guarantees and none of the regulatory amendments proposed goes against the Federal Constitution or the country’s legal order. Other countries that hosted world cups also signed similar guarantees and approved specific laws for the occasion.

4. Wouldn't the special treatment offered to FIFA violate the principle of equality and therefore be unconstitutional?

There is no discredit whatsoever to the equality principle. The legal instrument proposed aims only to help the Federal Government fulfil the guarantees it offered. It is also important to note that the staging of a World Cup is in itself an extraordinary act that creates new demands not foreseen in the country's internal legislation.

5. What is the difference between a "well-known mark" and a "highly renowned mark"?

Highly renowned marks are those that are broadly known in our national territory or that need to be registered in Brazil to be protected. Well-known marks, on the other hand, are those that are knowingly owned by a person that is protected anywhere in the world under the "Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property".

6. Wouldn't FIFA's ownership of images, sounds and broadcasting rights go against freedom of press?

No. Freedom of press is broadly protected by our Constitution and is safeguarded by the bill, which ensures, for instance, the possibility of reproducing so-called flagrant images for journalistic purposes, including by communication companies that do not hold transmission rights. This legal regime is already adopted internally in our country for other sports events and will be fully maintained for the World Cup.

7. Why criminalize conducts related to the events?

The Brazilian penal law does not offer specific protection for industrial property rights related to the World Cup. That includes ambush marketing, for example, an activity that is not considered a crime in our country.

8. Is there a possibility that people might be arbitrarily arrested during the events due to the new penal categories proposed?

Not at all. All three crimes foreseen in the bill are minor offenses and will be judged under the Law of Special Courts (Law 0.099/1995). As such, no one will be arrested for being caught red-handed nor will initial sentencing consist of deprivation of liberty.

9. What is the difference between "ambush marketing by association" and "ambush marketing by intrusion"?

"Ambush marketing by association" occurs when agents lead third parties to believe their mark is officially related to the events while not really holding such rights. In "ambush marketing by intrusion," on the other hand, the attention of event spectators is unduly called to a mark that is not officially associated to the organisation of the event.

10. Can people who display the matches in TVs or giant screens be arrested?

No. The bill just offers civil protection against unauthorized television transmission of the events. At any rate, matches displayed without commercial purposes and free of charge would not be considered unlawful.

11. Will the Federal Government pay for eventual damages caused by FIFA?

No. The Federal Government’s civil responsibility is laid down in Article 37, §6º of the Federal Constitution. As such, it will only pay for eventual damages caused by its own agents during the events. Should an incident related to security come to be objectively attributed to FIFA, unless FIFA itself actually contributed to the incident the Federal Government may assume the responsibility and subsequently seek reimbursement from the offender.

12. How will the Pelé Law and the Fans Statute be enforced during the World Cup?

The Fans Statute and Pelé Law mostly govern the internal organisation of Brazilian sports. They address such things as sports justice, drawing referees, labour relations between athletes and their clubs, etc. Both will be complementary to the General World Cup Law. At any rate, the bill fully safeguards the rights of Brazilian athletes and spectators.

13. Will AGU defend the interests of FIFA in a court of law?

According to the bill, AGU may provide extrajudicial conciliation in cases of conflicting interests between FIFA and the Federal Government. It may also intervene in legal processes per request of the Federal Union with a view to preventing financial losses to the Brazilian State, among others.

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