Stopping large-scale film and video piracy straight from the source

With the Yuletide season fast approaching, many Filipinos will be looking to more entertainment sources for quality time with families and friends. Films, local or international, will be out to satiate our appetite for entertainment in the spirit of the season.

But before we celebrate the holidays, let us first make the proper observance of October as National Anti-Piracy Month and once again remind ourselves of the urgent need to safeguard the intellectual property rights of our creators.

Let us remember how the digital age has enabled many to unfairly and illegally put content out for unfettered consumption, in the end violating the IP rights of creators, robbing them of a rightful return on their investments and, in the long term, creating mistrust that disincentivizes the creative industry from creating.

In the film industry alone, the first pandemic year has shown the effect of piracy on the fall of revenues through the annually anticipated Metro Manila Film Festival.

The MMFF was coming off an invigorating year in 2019. The opening of films from both independent and mainstream producers has garnered a steady stream of local supporters. Of course, this led to an impressive P955 million in revenue as movies reached the hearts of many film-goers in the most spirited fashion.

And then came 2020 when the pandemic forced the MMFF to go online, resulting in revenues nosediving to P95 million. The significant loss was incurred from what MMFF film producers point out to be rampant film piracy, with many reporting to have made multiple requests for take-downs as early as the first week of the virtual film event.

One producer even reported seeing on social media an offer of P10 to view the film, a far cry from the usual ticket price of P250.

It is time we hit large-scale piracy straight at its source. To do this, the IP Office of the Philippines has been leading the push toward a rolling site-blocking regime where we will order the take-down of sites illegally selling or making content accessible to the public. In this process, the online space will also be monitored continuously to prevent pirated content from getting back online.

To put concrete anti-piracy actions in motion, IPOPHL has been building partnerships with relevant groups.

In April 2021, the Asia Video Industry Association partnered with IPOPHL to further the growth of film and video companies in Asia-Pacific by battling piracy.

In September last year, IPOPHL partnered with the Film Development Council of the Philippines to intensify the protection of the local film industry’s IP rights. With this MOU, IPOPHL and FDCP are collaborating for the promotion of awareness, appreciation, and enforcement of copyright among members of the film industry and the general public.

In April 2022, IPOPHL joined hands with the Motion Picture Association to develop an effective piracy monitoring system and a rolling site-blocking regime that will disrupt accessibility to piracy sites.

We are also working closely with internet service providers who acknowledge the need for an enabling law to formalize IPOPHL’s authority to block piracy sites. We hope the National Telecommunications Commission will work with IPOPHL under a memorandum of understanding that we are proposing.

Bills to amend the IP Code to introduce site-blocking and align the Philippine IP system with current global legal and technological trends are now in the House of Representatives for further deliberation.

As we celebrate National Anti-Piracy Month, IPOPHL reiterates its call for stronger support to strengthen the IP Code — strong enough to combat widespread piracy year-round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *