Press Release
December 11, 2012

Senate ratifies bicam report on IPR

The Senate today ratified a bicameral conference committee report on a bill amending the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, to protect intellectual property rights of Filipinos who excel in various fields that rely on copyrighted protection.

Earlier, Senator Manny Villar, sponsor of Senate Bill 2842, said that copyright piracy in the country was so bad that the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a private group composed of trade associations in copy-right based industries in the United States, had recommended the Philippines and 12 other countries to be placed in the Priority Watch List of the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) 2011 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

"To be included in the USTR's Priority Watch List means that countries do not provide an adequate level of IPR protection, enforcement or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection," Villar explained.

He said the passage of the Anti-Camrecording Act of 2009 had prompted the removal of the Philippines from the USTR's out-of-cycle review last year. However, he added, the Philippines remain in the lower level Watch List since 2005.

"We owe it to our artists, composers, writers, designers, programmers, scientists, animators and Filipino professionals to protect their body of work against copyright infringement," Villar said.

The bicameral committee report provided added mechanisms to protect the Filipino performers; subjecting the importation and exportation of infringing materials to the approval of the Secretary of Finance with the Commissioner of Customs authorized to make rules and regulations to prevent the importation or exportation of infringement articles; giving the owner of the copyright or of any exclusive right in the work the option to register and deposit their works with the National Library and the Supreme Court Library and allowing the copyright owner to recover instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages, for all infringement involved in an action the sum equivalent to the filing fee of the infringement action but not less than P50,000.

"In case the infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his acts constitute an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to P10,000," the report said. (PILAR S. MACROHON, PRIB WRITER)

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