Not everyone knows that on April 4, 2017, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Proclamation No. 190 declaring April of every year as National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Month calling upon government instrumentalities, including universities and colleges and local government units, and the private sector to participate in the celebration upgrading the previous weeklong observance to a month.
This was announced during the press briefing organized by the Motion Pictures Association in Celebration of World IP Day held last April 20 at Sala Bistro in Greenbelt, Makati.
This celebration marks the local industry and government agencies joining together to announce new efforts to prevent piracy, illegal camcording,a nd other violations of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
The press briefing was led by Director General Josephine R. Santiago of the Intellectual Property office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) and discussed the importance of film protection to the growth of movie industry vis-a-vis digital piracy and its related issues when it comes to global piracy.
At present, the Philippines has been called a “Digital Lifestyle Capital in the Making.” Huffington Post says that the country’s vibrant digital landscape, strong economy and young population have placed the country in a perfect digital storm. Despite the availability of subscription-based video streaming services like iflix and Netflix, which, needless to state, are authorized and legal to exhibit films on their platforms, downloading content from unauthorized sources and websites is still very prevalent. The Philippines ranks high in terms of online piracy. In particular, it is estimated that around 22 million visited these unauthorized sites. As a result, it is estimated that at least 70% of film distribution in the country is controlled by pirates.
How do we control or fight piracy?
- In the United States, there is Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which aims to expand the ability of law enforcement to combat, among others, online copyright infringement. We need to have that kind of specific and comprehensive law on online piracy.
- In connection, our law enforcement agencies should dedicate a specialists unit to handle and tackle serious and organized intellectual property crime with a particular focus on acts using an online or digital platform. We have the Optical Media Board (OMB) that have agents on routine inspections and with the aid of police operatives have the power to confiscate pirated materials on ground.
- We need the support of various players in multiple industries – film and music distributors, internet service providers, mobile telecommunications providers, and advertisers to step forward against online piracy.
- And lastly, the most important, to educate the public. There must be a widespread of information on intellectual property and piracy, which may be included in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools, specifically, arts and values education classes.
The press briefing was also joined by Marivic Benedicto, Chairman, Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI); Brian Breuhaus, Economic Officer, US Embassy; and Sherwin dela Cruz, Country Manager, iflix.
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