Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda on Wednesday underscored the urgency of amending the country’s 26-year old Intellectual Property (IP) Code to protect some 6.89 million Filipinos in the P1.60-trillion creatives industry, a top contributor to the economy that is under constant threat of worsening content piracy.
In his speech read by Neil Gane, Head of Content Protection, Asia Pacific for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment at an anti-piracy symposium, Salceda asserted the need to reinforce the law by granting stronger powers for the authorities to crack down on pirated content, particularly in film, “the most piracy prone component” of the creatives sector.
“This is why piracy is a crime that can completely stifle the country’s creative sector. If our creators cannot defend what they own, they will not be encouraged to create. There are signs that the sector is already stagnating, in a country whose mass market is Asia’s most prolific users of smartphones – easy avenues for spreading pirated content,” said Salceda.
The symposium on “Disrupting the Piracy Ecosystem and Protecting Legal Services” was co-hosted by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), GMA Network, Inc (GMA) and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
The creatives industry is critical as it accounts for a significant portion of the country’s GDP: P1.6 trillion in gross value-added, or roughly 7.3 percent in 2022. But while still notable, this has already declined from 7.5 percent in 2018, going against the global growth trend.
“If we don’t fight piracy in a more proactive way, the creatives in the Philippines could slowly become a sunset sector even before it had its time in the sun,” Salceda warned.
Salceda’s House Bill 7600 seeks to introduce stronger provisions in the Intellectual Property Code as an antidote to the viral nature of content piracy, enabled by the Internet. Proposed amendments aim to make intellectual property protection in the country more proactive through introducing powerful mechanisms such as site-blocking, which he said is critical to intellectual property protection because “the internet has accelerated the transmission of pirated content.”
“COVID-19 has taught us the mathematics of virality: the earlier you contain something viral, the better. The same goes for viral pirated content: the sooner we can prevent it from being spread out, the better we protect intellectual property,” Salceda said.
He cited how the impact of piracy could grow more severe for the creatives industry when it eats into the intended market: “Piracy becomes seriously damaging to the creatives sector when it is commercialized to the extent that it competes for the mass market for original content. Piracy, in other words, is more serious when it steals the audience, not just the content.”
This is where the power of site blocking comes in, as it “directly curtails the mass impact of piracy by shutting down the venue for sharing,” Salceda said.
Salceda’s bill with the proposed amendments has moved to the House plenary after approval of the House Committee on Trade and Industry. Salceda expressed confidence that the bill will be passed on third reading “within the next two to three months,” citing how several lawmakers come from the sector itself.
He also urged advocates of the cause to support the measure and help see through its passage into law.
“I would like to emphasize that a strong creatives sector is a way of future-proofing the country’s economy,” he said, citing examples of how countries such as the United States, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand invest heavily in the industry given its potency in stimulating economic sustainable growth.
“The creatives sector could save us, if we can save it,” Salceda said.
Globe, the country’s leading digital solutions platform and purveyor of digital entertainment and lifestyle, has been a staunch supporter of anti-piracy efforts. Through its #PlayItRight campaign, Globe aims to combat content piracy to protect the creatives industry from copyright infringement and consumers from malware and cybersecurity threats posed by pirate sites.
This is in line with Globe’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG No. 9, which underscores the role of infrastructure and innovation in development.
Content piracy undermines this goal as it poses a direct threat to creativity and innovation and curtails industry growth, leading to potential revenue and job loss in the sector.
Spotlight is BusinessWorld’s sponsored section that allows advertisers to amplify their brand and connect with BusinessWorld’s audience by enabling them to publish their stories directly on the BusinessWorld Web site. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us on Viber at https://bit.ly/3hv6bLA to get more updates and subscribe to BusinessWorld’s titles and get exclusive content through www.bworld-x.com.