The Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) has teamed with leading Philippine industry players including Globe, GMA Network, Inc., Cignal TV, Inc, KROMA Entertainment and Smart Communications, Inc, to announce the formation of the Video Coalition of the Philippines (VCP).
The VCP aims to push for stronger intellectual property protection in the Philippines that will protect both original content and users, as well as promote the Philippines creative and media industries, not only in the Philippines but around the world.
Building momentum with regulators
VCP is hoping to leverage momentum stemming from the introduction of House Bill No. 0799, to update the country’s Intellectual Property Code, and a Protection of Online Content Summit held on September 2 in Manila.
House Bill No. 0799, filed to the Philippines’ 19th Congress in July by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, aims to update the Philippines’ patent application system and make it “more attuned to the digital age.” It also “provides for technologies and media that were not anticipated” at the time the intellectual property code was enacted.
More authority to fight piracy
Proposed revisions also give regulators greater authority to combat IP violations, including the power to issue “permanent blocking orders, takedown orders, cease-and-desist, or disable access orders” against websites, service providers, and online platforms, including social media. The current IP code does not cover electronic or online content in its definition of pirated goods and lacks clear provisions that would allow for efficient and effective site blocking, and other interventions against online IP violations.
Proven success elsewhere
The approach used by AVIA-CAP in other countries has been very successful. Just days before announcing the VCP, CAP announced that internet service providers (ISPs) in Singapore have blocked 99 domains associated with 30 illegal streaming sites first blocked in February 2022.
In Indonesia, more than 50% of consumers say that they have stopped or rarely access pirate services as a result of the highly efficient and effective blocking measures in place there.
CAP General Manager Matt Cheetham said, “With the presentation of Bill No. 0799, “An Act Establishing for the Revised Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines” to the House, the Philippines has a golden opportunity to not only update and future proof its intellectual property regime, but to act as a launching pad for intellectual property to protect consumers and advance the overall Philippine economy.”
Cheetham further noted CAP’s recent YouGov survey showed Philippine consumers believe a government regulation for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block pirated content would be the most effective measure to reduce piracy in the Philippines.
Media stake-holders weigh in
Globe, the Philippines’ leading digital solutions platform, has been an advocate of anti-piracy through its #PlayItRight advocacy. Globe hopes to rally consumers and stakeholders behind original content creators by making online content affordable and accessible via content subscription.
“Revising the Intellectual Property Code will go a long way in protecting Filipino consumers from the dangers that lurk in pirate sites and improving cybersecurity in the country, especially as Filipinos now rely heavily on digital platforms,” said Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio.
Yoly Crisanto, Globe Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer, said revising the IP Code is necessary to improve the country’s regulatory environment just as the government aims for greater digitalization.
“The use of digital technologies and platforms is expected to further expand in the years to come, whether it be for education, finance, health or recreation. It is, therefore, urgent that we provide better protection for the creative industry and give them a secure environment conducive to creativity and innovation,” said Crisanto.
“Upholding intellectual property rights in the Philippines enables the creative industry to grow and thrive. KROMA, through the Video Coalition of the Philippines, is committed to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that this is observed, for the industry’s success and sustainability,” said Jil Go, KROMA’s Head of Broadcast and Publishing.
“GMA’s participation in the Video Coalition of the Philippines presents an opportunity to further strengthen our existing anti-piracy initiatives by working with other players in the industry to push for the implementation of site blocking mechanisms and help protect our viewers and GMA content against unauthorized uploaders,” said Joseph T. Francia, First Vice President and Head of Operations, GMA International.
Read the AVIA-CAP press release, Philippine industry body launched for stronger content protection and anti-piracy efforts, Sept 29, 2022.
Why it matters
Pointing to the impact of site blocking in Indonesia, traffic to pirate sites has dropped by more than 75% since the government implemented their rolling site blocking procedures in 2019.
“Perhaps more importantly, 76% of Indonesian consumers say they are accessing more legal content and pirating less, and 26% have subscribed to legitimate sources as a result of illegal streaming sites being blocked. Blocking as an educational tool may also be evident in 95% of Indonesian consumers agreeing that online piracy does have negative consequences – the highest in the region,” said Cheetham.
When done efficiently and effectively, site blocking has a massive impact on combating piracy, changing attitudes and protecting consumers.