Salceda Anti-Piracy Bill Gains Supporters – Manila Bulletin
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda’s legislative effort to fight piracy has found vocal backers in the form of consumer advocacy group CitizenWatch Philippines.
“We must encourage and develop, not discourage and discourage, the potential of Filipino talent to become a global creative powerhouse,” said attorney Tim Abejo, co-organizer of CitizenWatch Philippines.
“To that end, we implore our legislators to act on House Bill (HB) 799 drafted by Rep. Joey Salceda. This will be the first bill for urgent reforms to the Intellectual Property (IP) Code that institutionalizes site blocking as an anti-piracy strategy,” he said.
Also known as the “Act Establishing the Revised Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines”, the Salceda measure seeks to amend the Intellectual Property Code by expanding the power of regulators to tackle online infringement of intellectual property rights .
The bill redefines “pirated goods” to include content in electronic or digital form, allows the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) to temporarily or permanently block websites and other platforms, expands powers of regulators to conduct intelligence gathering and block sites in coordination with other government agencies or intermediary service providers, and provides for penalties against intellectual property rights violators of up to P1,000,000.
Abejo said the bill already has broad support from creative industry stakeholders, telecommunications companies and internet service providers.
Salceda, at a recent summit titled “Content Piracy: An Obstacle to Economic Growth and a Danger to Consumers,” said there was still a lot to be done to fight online piracy. The summit was organized by the Asia Video Industry Association, the Coalition Against Piracy and Globe Telecom.
Economist-Solon offered a five-point strategy for knowledge industries that could stem this problem and allow the industry to get the support it deserves.
“First, we need to build capacity through government, private sector, and public-private sector investments,” he said. “We should provide incentives for research and development, pay attention to creative industries, science and technology, and lift restrictions on foreign capital in knowledge-intensive sectors, among others.”
He also proposed “cross-pollination” – allowing the sharing and transfer of knowledge from foreign experts through tax and non-tax incentives.
Salcedo also cited the need for fair taxation – the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on foreign digital services at parity with domestic service providers; the creation of markets or the government’s purchase of more Filipino creative works and the promotion of Filipino creative culture at home and abroad; and legal protection, which includes laws such as the Creative Industries Development Act which protects the rights and welfare of workers in the creative sector, the Protection of Freelancers Act protecting the rights of self-employed workers – in addition of his HB 799.
“Billions of pesos are being drained from the economy through online piracy,” Abejo said, emphasizing the urgency of the issue.
“Thousands of creative workers and those in related sectors are losing opportunities and being disenfranchised when they could be part of a competitive industry of digital innovators and media creators,” he said.
It’s a daunting task, he said, but it could be done the same way South Korea has developed a thriving global entertainment industry, with an estimated $6 billion music market, according to the IFPI Global Music Report.
“There is no doubt that talent and excellence are two words that apply to Filipinos,” the official added.
“Our government could protect and support them so they can reach their full potential and transform our damaged creative industry into a global powerhouse of artistic geniuses,” Abejo said.
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