HOUSE Committee on Ways and Means Chairman and Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Sarte Salceda has lauded the approval by the House Committee on Trade and Industry of House Bill (HB) Nos. 799, a comprehensive reform of the Intellectual Property Code, and 7028, which allows the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Philippines to block websites showing infringed or “pirated” content.
“Let’s run both horses and see which one goes faster. But we need site-blocking powers urgently because that will help put an end to stealing from Filipino content creators and creatives,” Salceda said.
“You cannot own what you cannot defend. That’s why these powers are just as important as actions to promote content creation,” he said.
Salceda said that between 7.3% to as much as 15% of the economy relies on copyrighted material and is expected to be an even larger share of the economy with greater digitalization.
“And more media and creatives are moving towards the digital space. Vivamax, (iWantTFC), among others, creates and stream Filipino content. They will lose out, along with the jobs they create, if we don’t block pirated content,” he said.
Salceda explained that “In 2020, at the start of the pandemic-induced lockdowns, online content piracy was estimated to have translated to P1 billion in potential revenue losses to local video producers, distributors, and aggregators in 2020, according to a study by Media Partners Asia.”
“Such losses were most felt during the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival, which had to migrate to streaming due to COVID-19 restrictions,” he said.
“As content has become more easily transmissible in the digital space, infringement has also become more prevalent in the online space. As such, a more dynamic and proactive manner to prevent such infringement is necessary, but is currently unclear or absent in current law. Particularly, there is a need for an explicit mandate and clear regulations and standards to allow Rights Holders to apply to the Intellectual Property Office to order the disabling of access to Infringing Piracy Services,” he said.
HB 7028 prescribes the procedures for filing an application and adjudicating a request for site blocking. The outline of procedures, as well as notification provisions, ensures that the process is consistent with “due process” requirements.
“This is an extrajudicial way of enforcing IP rights. Courts simply do not have the time or bandwidth to handle digital IP violations in a way that reduces harm immediately,” Salceda said.