Press Release
August 5, 2009

To attract more investors

To bolster foreign investments on digital technology and media and to advance further studies and research in the country, Senator Edgardo J. Angara urges the Senate to amend the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines to include broadcast materials openly shared on the internet.

The proposed amendment of the existing IPC will integrate a more comprehensive and efficient strategies to respond to the upsurge of internet piracy and give recognition to the rights of performers, producers and broadcasters as accorded authors of the artistic and literally works; acknowledging their right to control or be compensated for which their works are enjoyed by others. It will also recognize the rights to distribution and rental, and rights to claim fees for certain forms of broadcast or communication to the public.

"These 'internet treaties' were intended to modernize and supplement the existing international treaties on copyright. The treaties respond to critical issues formed by the introduction of digital technologies, especially in the area of dissemination of protected material over the internet," notes Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology

With the recent advancement of various online platforms such as YouTube, Limewire, Torrent and other video streaming-capable and download station domains, many videos, music and computer software and applications are now openly shared by millions of users worldwide. In Asia particularly, such pirated materials are freely circulating in the market with little attention given to due enforcement of copyright and licensing laws.

Aside from the consequent backlash to royalties and revenues for affected artists and producers, the Philippines, and Asia in general, also suffers a reputation of being an unsafe haven for investors in digital technology-based businesses such as software development, film production houses and multi-media ventures. Even legitimate video and music shops and rental outlets have closed down due to the rampancy of pirated goods in the market.

The Philippines is signatory to many international treaties on intellectual property rights such as the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the WIPO Copyright (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms (WPPT) treaties, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for Purposes of Patent Procedure, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic, International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonographs and Broadcasting Organizations and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

With the Philippines' signing of the WCT and WPPT, Angara sees the need to amend the IPC to include additional obligations imposed by the provisions in said treaties. In particular, the laws must address the issues of the technological measures provisions of the WCT and the rights management information provisions of the Internet Treaties.

"The goal of this bill is to provide an Internet environment where it is safe to distribute and license protected material. In an increasingly global arena, nothing less than a global effort will ensure the effective protection and development of intellectual property," said Angara.

More stringent penalties are likewise recommended for rights-violators, while immediate judicial relief and alternative options are proposed to be accorded actual and potential victims of infringement who would sustain incalculable losses for every minute that their works are used or exploited in the internet by infringers.

"Through these amendments, the Philippines ensures that rights-holders can effectively use technology to protect their own rights and to license their works online. This will also rectify the misconception that pirated goods are accepted in the country. In effect, we can be assured of more foreign investments on digital media and technology-based ventures to tap our highly-skilled employees and generate growth for the economy," ended Angara, current Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

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