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Salceda pushes for bill allowing gov't to block sites publishing pirated content

House ways and means panel chairperson Joey Salceda on Thursday called for the passage of a bill allowing government authorities to block sites committing copyright infringement online to curb online piracy.

Salceda said House Bill 7600 seeks to amend the Intellectual Property Code.

The bill defines pirated goods as "goods or materials or content, whether tangible and intangible, in electronic or digital form, which are made, produced, copied, reproduced, disseminated, distributed, imported, used, removed, altered, substituted, modified, storage, uploaded, downloaded, communicated, made available to the public, or protected material broadcasted, or replicated without the consent of the right holder or person duly authorized by the right holder and which are made, produced, or replicated directly or indirectly from an article where the making of that copy would have constituted an infringement of copyright or related rights.”

Salceda’s proposal seeks to allow preventive action on online infringement by providing the Intellectual Property Office the power, after due notice and hearing, to disable access to an online location or prevent further access to an online location whose primary purpose or primary effect is to infringe copyright or facilitate copyright infringement.

The bill also states that the copyright owner or the exclusive licensee of copyright may submit an application to the IPO to order the disabling of access to any infringing online location identified in the application.

Further, the bill states that the application should be submitted by completing the forms and documentation as requested by the IPO to allow it to establish that the party filing the application is an eligible party, or is authorized to file the application on behalf of an eligible party and verify through evidence that the subject of the order applied for is an infringing online location.

“Online creative [industry] could either end up growing at slowest or shrink if we cannot protect it," Salceda said in a statement.

He cited Philippine Statistics Authority data showing that the digital creatives sector recorded the slowest employment growth among creatives subsectors at 4.5% as against total sector growth at 10.5% from 2021 to 2022.

“Online piracy will kill digital creatives. We should invest in a system of rapidly identifying and responding to online piracy incidents, with the help of content owners,” he said.

“We need to amend the law  to respond to recent advances in technology to adopt some of the current best practices in the  international community, and to fortify government efforts against piracy and  counterfeiting,” the committee report on the measure added.

Salceda also pointed out that streaming services provided a platform for music and entertainment artists, including the hugely popular content from South Korea, so they could show their wares even amid the COVID-19 pandemic when mass gathering such as concerts were banned to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

“As incomes grow, so too will demand for this form of entertainment. People are obviously willing to pay, as seen in the growth of subscriptions to companies like Netflix. And as soon as we produce quality content, we will see demand for Philippine streaming [industry],” he said.

“But if we cannot protect Philippine streaming platforms, we will see this industry die before it gets its chance to flourish,” he added.—AOL, GMA Integrated News