Press Release
August 7, 2007

No place for piracy! - Revilla

Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr., erstwhile Chairman of the Videogram Regulatory Board (now the Optical Media Board), today expressed his frustration and dismay over the filing of a Bill in the Lower House aiming to halt the country's anti-piracy campaign, which he says will effectively stomp out the government's gains in field over the last five (5) years.

Referring to House Bill 825, a bill aiming to declare a moratorium on the apprehension, seizure and confiscation of pirated compact discs, video compact discs, and cassette and video cassette tapes in the country, Revilla, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, said that he will ensure that this Bill will not see the light of day in the Senate.

"There is no place for piracy! I will make sure that this bill will not become a law. I do not understand the motives of the author on why we should stop our anti-piracy efforts. I believe that we should even intensify it," he said. "When I was Chairman of the VRB, we successfully reduced the volume of pirated discs in the market by 70%. Chairman Edu Manzano of the OMB has successfully built upon this accomplishment and is successfully continuing the Anti-piracy campaign. Are we supposed to throw all of this away?" the Senator asked.

"I understand that as much as possible, the poor should have equal access to products in the market. But please, pirated CDs and DVDs? They are not necessities, and the adverse impact of pirated materials on the local entertainment and software industries come at such steep costs," he added

The legislator cited the sorry state of the local motion picture and recording industries which he says was largely due to piracy. "Cinema and Record producers barely recoup the costs and expenses of coming out with movies and albums. This is the reason why there only a handful of large scale producers left," the Senator expressed. "Over 200,000 workers in this industry have lost their jobs, and more will lose theirs if this bill becomes law."

"This Bill's author is obviously unfamiliar with the issue. The Bill cites a right to entertainment, but there is no such right. It also points out an alleged entertainment cartel in the explanatory note, but it fails to substantiate this bare allegation. The explanatory note also claims that it costs only 15 pesos to make one (1) CD, but it obviously failed to consider the costs for the talent fees of the artists, directors, writers and other workers, and marketing costs, aside from actual production costs. It also fails to consider the hundreds of thousands of entertainment industry workers." Revilla said. "If you ask me, I think this Bill was just copied from an old bill because it still dwells on the Videogram Regulatory Board which we all know has already been superseded by the Optical Media Board as far back as 2004. This Bill is talking about a non-existing entity."

Revilla was also quick to point out the potential adverse effect of the bill on international trade relations. He recalled that when he was Chairman of the defunct VRB, the country had a difficult time in evading trade sanctions from trade partners due to the prevalence of piracy in the local market.

"The United States and other trade partners will be quick to restore our black-listed status if we allow piracy to thrive once again. This will translate to the withdrawal of capital and investments, loss of trade quotas and preferential status, and withdrawal of products from our market."

The lawmaker also said that this bill sends out a wrong message to the public, as it, according to him, encourages the public to patronize stolen property.

"Video and music piracy is stealing from legitimate owners. If this bill is to become law, then why should we not also repeal the anti-fencing law, the Anti-carnapping law, and the Intellectual Property Code? After all, the author, through this bill, is saying that we should allow stolen property to be openly sold just so they can be bought at a lower price," he remarked.

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