The Philippines needs to pass a more comprehensive law on online piracy that will allow the government to establish in every law enforcement agency a special unit to focus on organized intellectual property (IP) crime committed on digital platforms.
These were some of the proposed measures for combating IP crime in the country during the World IP Day Press Briefing organized by the Motion Picture Association at Sala Bistro in Greenbelt 3, Makati City on April 20.
In his message delivered during the occasion, Solar Entertainment president Wilson Tieng said that such law should be similar to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US, which seeks to expand the ability of law enforcement to combat online copyright infringement, among others.
“We believe that the proposed law will expand the existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content. This law, if passed, will protect the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs, and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws,” he said.
A joint study by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) and WIPO in 2014 found that motion picture and videos are a core part of copyright-based industries in the Philippines, accounting for 7.34% of GDP and 14.14% of employment.
Tieng likewise stressed the need for those in other affected industries — such as music distributors, Internet service providers, mobile telecommunications providers, and advertisers — to join film distributors in the fight against online piracy.
According to Tieng, advertisers should realize the following: that “ad misplacement on these pirate websites, directly or indirectly, damages the reputation of brands, brand advertising lends pirate sites credibility in consumers’ eyes which can lead to them consuming pirate content inadvertently, and that legitimate advertising spend should not be funding illegal IP-infringing activity.”
Lastly, he suggested the inclusion of topics on intellectual property and piracy in the primary and secondary school curriculum.
According to the custom analysis of Alexa Data, there are over 22 million visits to infringing websites in the Philippines, compared to 18 million visits to the top three legal sites for movies and shows.
“We accept that the way consumers consume music is changing,” said Philippine Association for the Record Industry (PARI) chairman Marivic Benedicto. She admitted, however, that to defeat piracy, industries should embrace innovation.
Benedicto discussed PARI’s partnership with Spotify, adding that the Philippines is now number 14 in the world in terms of number of Spotify subscribers. “We’re getting it for free but the difference now is that it’s legal. Youtube is also a legitimate platform.”
The PARI chairman also stated that music piracy is no longer a significant issue in the country as everybody is now on the legitimate platform.
iflix country manager Sherwin dela Cruz said his company is likewise doing its part in intensifying efforts to beat piracy.
“IPOPHIL recognized the pressing need to fight counterfeiting and piracy,? stated IPOPHL director general Josephine Santiago who enumerated the agency’s initiatives for this cause.
“In 2016, a total of P6,519,376,647.00 worth of counterfeit and pirated goods were seized through the collective efforts of the NCIPR members,” said Santiago. “The amount represents more than 300% increase over the previous year?s reported value from enforcement operations.”
Santiago also shared the news that the Philippines has been out of the United States Trade Representative Special 301 Watch List for three consecutive years now.
Remarked US Embassy economic officer Brian Breuhaus, “Statistics show that since World War 2, about 75 percent of the growth in the world’s economy has been due to innovation. In high-income countries innovation accounts for as much as 80 percent of economic growth.”
Breuhaus noted that IP is especially beneficial for SMEs as it helps keep their costs down, creates more jobs, helps increase sales, and allows the workers to become more innovative.
The World IP Day is celebrated annually on April 26. On April 4 this year, Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Proclamation No. 190 declaring April of every year as National IP Rights Month.