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Bill seeks end to online piracy

May 17, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 137 views

THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure that seeks to stop online piracy.

House Bill No. 7600, amendments to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, which establishes a mechanism for petitioning that a website containing pirated content be blocked by internet service providers.

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda sponsored the measure.

“In practical terms, it allows the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines to receive complaints and petitions to take down infringed content posted online, or to conduct site blocking. The complaints can be heard in a simplified manner that also adheres to the constitutional requirement of due process – including means for appeal. And within five days, the IPOPHIL can decide on the complaint, and 48 hours thereafter, compel an internet service provider to block the offending site,” Salceda explained.

“One pirated content becomes viral, it becomes very difficult to prevent other users from accessing it. Copyright laws become impossible to enforce on viral content. So, the point of any intellectual property enforcement law in the digital age must be to prevent infringement before it becomes viral,” Salceda added.

The proposal allows content generators and the concerned public to file petitions to block websites featuring pirated online content.

Under the bill, complaints must be sufficient in form, there must be due notice of both the complaint and of the conduct of the hearings therefore, there must be due notice of the final judgment, and there is an appeals mechanism in case the affected site.

According to Salceda, the economic costs of online piracy is another reason for passing the measure.

“At the same time, I would like to emphasize the cost of online piracy. The creative industries already account for around 7.5 percent of GDP, with digital content creation contributing as much as 0.46% of GDP to the economy. It will continue to grow, but so will the cost of online piracy, already estimated to cost around 0.12 percent of GDP, or more than one-fourth the size of the total digital creatives sector. Without enforcement, piracy will kill this sector in its infancy,” he added.