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Bills vs online piracy to be prioritized with public hearing

MANILA, Philippines – Two legislative measures granting additional capability to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in curbing online content piracy will be tackled during the recess of the Senate sessions.

In a recent electronic message to the media, the Senate trade and industry committee of Sen. Mark Villar said a public hearing is set for Senate Bills 2150 and 2385.

The two bills will amend Republic Act No. 8293, also known as the “Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines”, passed in 1997.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, principal author of SBN 2150, aims to disable access to online sites that facilitate copyright infringement. It introduces procedure for preventive action and site blocking.

“Considering the pervasiveness of these illegal activities which severely hamper the growth of the creative economy and lead to loss of jobs or displacement of workers, there is a need to establish regulations and effective mechanisms to protect intellectual property rights,” the explanatory note read.

Meanwhile, SBN 2385 highlights the renewed authority and responsibilities of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. 

It seeks to empower the IPO to disable access to sites that infringe copyright and initiate action for site blocking.

In his explanatory note, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., the bill’s principal author, stressed the importance of having measures that would “ensure that piracy will not thrive, and that piracy will not kill the industry.”

Both measures recommend the imposition of higher fines from P5,000 to a minimum of P100,000 up to a maximum of P1,000,000, and an additional P10,000 for each day of continuing violation.

Earlier, entertainment personalities called for the swift passage of the said bills to enable online site blocking as a measure to combat content piracy and safeguard intellectual property rights.

If passed by Congress, the bills will update and strengthen the old IPC and enhance the enforcement capabilities of the IPO against online piracy.

The amended Code will also remove provisions that have limited its control over electronic and online contents within the definition of pirated goods.