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Friday, December 8, 2023

Globe signs deal with IPOPHL to block pirate sites

Globe Telecom Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and four Internet service providers (ISPs) to establish a site-blocking mechanism against pirate sites.

A first in Asia, the MOU is a significant step forward against content piracy pending proposed amendments to the 26-year-old Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, which will institutionalize stronger measures.

“What we are doing is such an important step in the absence of a site-blocking law.  We are no longer tied up.  We can do something about piracy,” said Globe chief sustainability and communications officer Yoly Crisanto.

“Just as we have taken our advocacy to such great lengths, we’re fully committed to stopping piracy.  And hopefully, in the digital economy, the Philippines can start looking forward to a creative industry that is robust and free from all these challenges,” she said.

The MOU “is the first in Asia and second in the world,” said Neil Gane of the Motion Pictures Association. Germany pioneered a similar initiative, where the site-blocking process centers around an independent entity known as the Clearinghouse for Copyright on the Internet (CUII) founded by ISPs and rights holders.  Germany’s model operates without the direct involvement of any governmental agency.

As it underscored the benefits the internet has brought to Filipinos, the MOU highlights the detrimental effects of online piracy, which not only harms legitimate stakeholders but also exposes users to potential malware threats and phishing attacks.

The MOU’s primary objective is to establish a voluntary site-blocking practice against the unauthorized distribution and sale of pirated content over the internet and set an example for other stakeholders who are not yet signatories to the MOU.

It also outlines the general principles and procedures for site blocking, emphasizing collaboration between ISPs and IPOPHL, and ensuring compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Site-blocking is among proposed amendments to the Intellectual Property Code, with measures pending in Congress. As it welcomes the MOU, Globe is hoping for a more robust, institutionalized mechanism for site-blocking under the law, as this would penalize offenders and make site-blocking a matter of course for ISPs.

Globe supports the swift approval of two bills currently under Senate review, introduced by Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, following the passage of House Bill No. 7600 by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda in the House of Representatives in May.

These legislative efforts aim to refine Republic Act No. 8293 and empower IPOPHL to initiate site-blocking measures against copyright-infringing sites.

Globe’s commitment to combating piracy is evident through its #PlayItRight campaign, which champions the protection of content creators in an era rife with pirated materials. As a member of the Video Coalition of the Philippines and the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), Globe has consistently advocated for robust intellectual property rights in the country to protect consumers and the creative industry, a major contributor to the economy.

The urgency of these efforts is underscored by a recent study by Media Partners Asia, which projected a potential revenue loss of $1 billion for the Philippines by 2027 if online video piracy continues unchecked. Surveys by YouGov also indicate that enforcing site-blocking could significantly benefit the Philippines’ P1.6-trillion creative industry.

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