Bill filed in Congress against digital piracy

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Buhay party-list represenatives Irwin C. Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde said they filed House Bill 6187 because digital piracy has been wrecking havoc on the intellectual property rights of many creators, artists, producers, songwriters, musicians and others whose hard work and great talent make music or film possible. “With the tremendous expansion of the Internet, it has regrettably become a cash-cow for the criminals and organized crime cartels that profit from digital piracy,” Tieng said. According to Tieng, one advantage of using a computer to perform these types of piracy is that each copy of a song or movie is an exact replica of the original without degradation of its quality. Tieng added that with the advent of new technologies, song and movie downloading have relatively become fast and free of charge. “Regardless how the infringer sees it, piracy is theft of intellectual property and is no more justifiable than shoplifting. The damage done to the entertainment industry and legitimate end users do not outweigh the few advantages that piracy does have,” Tieng stressed. The measure, to be known as the “Anti-Online Piracy Act,” shall penalize first time offenders with imprisonment of 2 years plus a fine ranging from P50,000 to P150,000. Second time violators will be slapped with a fine of P150,000 to P300,000 and 3 years imprisonment. For the third and subsequent offenses, the bill shall penalize violators with five years imprisonment plus a fine ranging from P300,000 to P1,000,000. Velarde said as a signatory to the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), the Philippines recognizes the right to develop and maintain the protection of the rights of authors in their literary and artistic works in a manner as effective and uniform as possible. Velarde said the bill prohibits and declares it unlawful for any person to make unauthorized copies of music recordings or films, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means. “Offering of goods or services, or providing access in a manner not authorized by the copyright owner, copies of music recordings or films, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including by means of download, streaming, provision of a link or aggregated links to other sites is also prohibited,” Velarde said. For effective implementation, the Department of Justice (DOJ), in coordination with other concerned government agencies and instrumentalities, will jointly formulate the necessary rules and regulations. ]]>

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