The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) issued the rules on site blocking to prevent unauthorized access to pirated sites.
IPOPHL said it signed Memorandum Circular 23-025 or the Rules on Voluntary Administrative Site Blocking on Sept. 20, 2023 in time for the celebration of the Philippine Creative Industries Month this September.
“The rules are a result of years-long work with the National Telecommunications Commission [NTC] and several internet service providers [ISPs] who refuse to sit down and watch while our creative industry suffers. With the site blocking mechanism soon up and running, IPOPHL, as ex-officio member of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council, is ecstatic to say the Philippines now has an essential tool to protect the creativity that drives our economy and defines our cultural landscape,” said IPOPHL director-general Rowel Barba.
The new measure will become effective two months from publication, and IPOPHL have high hopes to replicate the success of Indonesia where more than 50 percent of consumers were deterred from accessing unauthorized sites since 2019.
“We encourage rights holders to optimize this tool and protect the value of your creative assets,” Barba said.
Under the rules, the process is initiated once a rights holder or a duly authorized representative files a written request with the IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) followed by the payment of filing fees.
The MC created a series of protocols to ensure the process will successfully reconcile or resolve issues, including protocols mandating the exhaustion of all means to engage website administrators of the sites in question.
If no protest is received from the website administrator within the given period, the supervising director or deputy director general will issue within 48 hours the site-blocking request to ISPs, which in turn must enforce the order in 48 hours.
ISPs can disable access either to entire domain name systems (DNS); IP addresses; uniform resource locators (URL) for targeted websites, or through any other alternative means.
IPOPHL signed on Sept. 20 partnership agreements with the NTC and ISPs namely Globe Telecom, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc., PLDT, Inc., Sky Cable Corp. and DITO Telecommunity Corp.
Under the MOU, ISPs commit to willingly block sites directly upon IPOPHL’s request issued after a determination of violation, thereby streamlining the current process which requires the involvement of the NTC, the agency being the primary regulator of ISPs.