Digital piracy hurting Filipino industry and economy

 Content producers urged government to block illegal streaming websites to stop the damaging effects to legitimate local content producers and cybersecurity risks in downloading pirated videos.

In a virtual town hall discussion organized by Stratbase ADR Institute  (ADRi) on “Digital Risks in the New Normal”, ADRi president, Prof Dindo Manhit said, “Formerly face-to-face activities, have all undergone a rapid digitization and transitioned to online platforms. It comes as no surprise then that there are now more cases of phishing attacks, online scams, and other cyber-security threats since the onset of the pandemic.”

Asian Video Industry Association (AVIA) General Manager Neil Gane called for the blocking of websites that give access to pirated content. He cited how Indonesia has effectively curbed online piracy by 69% and increasing legal platforms by 30%.

“We have content and the telco industry see site blocking as a critical tool in fighting piracy. It will have an immediate and substantial impact on piracy,” Gane said.

Gane stressed that, “We all know that piracy impacts whether it’s the cable and satellite industry in the Philippines, certainly impacts those in front of the camera, behind the camera, those who are making television content and movie content in local platforms and the theaters as well as international platforms.”

Atty. Teodoro Pascua, Deputy Director general of Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) on the impact of piracy to the economy said, “It is significant enough that is has to be given attention to. That is why DTI and even the legislative branch of government and even us in the Intellectual Property Rights are talking about rules that we will come up with. The Innovation Council was created by the Philippine Innovation Act so that the creative industry is given attention by government because it is definitely impacting our economy”. 

“IT (information technology) is running so fast, faster than rules and regulations. This is why we are creating more flexible laws and regulations,” Pascua said.

Pascua added that IPOPHIL is working closely with e-commerce platforms to implement IT policies which will heighten IP rights and consumer protection.

“IPOPHIL will be at the forefront with the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Telecommunications Commission to take down sites which violate content rights,” Pascua said.

IPOPHIL reported that piracy activities accounted for most intellectual property rights violation. 42% of the total reports over the period March to June 2020 were piracy activities, including illegal streaming and illegal reproduction of copyrighted content. 

The Coalition Against Piracy and AVIA are pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 497 or the Philippine Online Infringement Act authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

In an earlier statement, Pascua supported the legislation to protect the creative ideas of Filipinos and assured that the IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) would continue to work on stopping the trade of counterfeit items.

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