Think Tank Urges Revision of Intellectual Property Code to Combat Piracy

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The Need for Revising the Intellectual Property Code to Combat Piracy

The intellectual property code plays a crucial role in protecting the rights of creators and innovators. However, it is essential to periodically review and update this code to address emerging challenges such as online piracy. Stratbase ADR Institute, a think tank, has emphasized the need for revising the 27-year-old intellectual property code in order to strengthen the campaign against piracy and mitigate its detrimental effects on the economy and the creative industry.

Online piracy has become a pervasive issue, causing significant demoralization among local creatives and enabling scammers and fraudsters to exploit the work of others. By allowing the use of illegal means to benefit from creative works, online piracy disrupts the marketplace and undermines the hard work and passion invested by creators. The financial loss incurred by these creators is not the only concern; the emotional toll and demoralization caused by the unauthorized use of their work further compound the issue.

The impact of piracy extends beyond the creative industry and has severe implications for the economy as a whole. According to records from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), piracy accounts for approximately 7.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This represents a significant loss of revenue and livelihood opportunities for the country. Moreover, consuming pirated content can also expose devices to malware, making users vulnerable to scams and cyber threats.

The Absence of Legislation to Block Sites with Pirated Content

One of the key challenges in combating online piracy in the Philippines is the absence of a specific law to block websites hosting pirated content. While various entities, such as the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and internet service providers, have collaborated to implement stop-gap measures, a comprehensive legal framework is necessary to effectively address the issue.

The absence of legislation to block sites with pirated content has contributed to the prevalence of online piracy in the country. In 2022 alone, the Philippines incurred losses of approximately $700 million due to the piracy of Filipino-made TV shows and movies. This alarming statistic has positioned the Philippines as one of the top consumers of pirated content in Asia, according to a YouGov 2022 piracy landscape survey.

IPPHL Director General Rowel Barba has projected that if concerns regarding online piracy persist, the country could experience revenue leakage of around $1 billion by 2027. This staggering figure highlights the urgent need for comprehensive measures to combat piracy and protect the rights of creators and innovators.

The Importance of Revising the Intellectual Property Code

The revision of the intellectual property code is crucial to empower government agencies and stakeholders to effectively combat online piracy. Stratbase ADR Institute emphasizes that revising the 27-year-old code and mandating authorities to disable access to online sites infringing copyrighted materials would be a significant step forward. The institute has been advocating for the amendment of the code and stands ready to support its implementation once passed.

Revising the intellectual property code would enable concerned government agencies to take decisive action against suspicious sites and shut them down. By strengthening the legal framework, online criminals and intellectual property thieves can be held accountable for their actions. These individuals unjustly enrich themselves by profiting from the work and resources that rightfully belong to others, and it is imperative to put an end to their activities.

The call for revising the intellectual property code has garnered support from various quarters, including Senator Mark Villar, Chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship. Senator Villar recognizes the importance of aligning the country’s laws with the dynamic changes in the digital ecosystem. As the Philippine digital economy continues to grow, with a valuation of $17 billion in 2021 projected to reach $40 billion by 2025, it is crucial to ensure that the legal framework adequately addresses the challenges posed by online piracy.

Senator Villar has introduced Senate Bills 2150 and 2385, which aim to expand the powers of IPOPHL. These bills, if passed, would provide IPOPHL with the necessary authority and resources to effectively combat online piracy. By equipping IPOPHL with additional powers, the legislation would enable the agency to proactively address the issue and protect the rights of creators and innovators.

In conclusion, revising the intellectual property code is essential to bolster the campaign against piracy and mitigate its adverse impact on the economy and the creative industry. By addressing the challenges posed by online piracy through comprehensive legislation, the Philippines can protect the rights of creators, curb revenue loss, and foster a thriving digital ecosystem. The revision of the intellectual property code, supported by stakeholders and lawmakers, is a critical step towards combating piracy and ensuring a fair and sustainable environment for innovation and creativity.

Source: The Manila Times

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