Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Top PH industry players joined hands to launch stronger content protection, anti-piracy efforts

Manila, Philippines – Top industry players in the Philippines including, Globe, GMA Network, Cignal TV, KROMA Entertainment, and Smart Communications have joined hands with the Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) to announce the formation of the Video Coalition of the Philippines (VCP).

The VCP aims to push for stronger intellectual property protection in the country that will protect both original content and users, as well as promote the Philippines’ creative and media industries, not only in the Philippines but around the world.

VCP convenors will also be building on the momentum of the presentation of the proposed Revised Intellectual Property Code in the Philippines’ 19th Congress in July and the recent Protection of Online Content Summit held on September 2 in Manila. House Bill No. 0799, filed by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, aims to update the Philippines’ patent application system and make it ‘more attuned to the digital age’. It also ‘provides for technologies and media that were not anticipated’ at the time the intellectual property code was enacted.

Moreover, proposed revisions give regulators greater authority to combat IP violations, including the power to issue ‘permanent blocking orders, takedown orders, cease-and-desist, or disable access orders’ against websites, service providers, and online platforms, including social media. The current IP code does not cover electronic or online content in its definition of pirated goods and lacks clear provisions that would allow for efficient and effective site blocking, and other interventions against online IP violations.

Matt Cheetham, CAP’s general manager, said, “With the presentation of Bill No. 0799, ‘An Act Establishing for the Revised Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines’ to the House, the Philippines has a golden opportunity to not only update and future proof its intellectual property regime, but to act as a launching pad for intellectual property to protect consumers and advance the overall Philippine economy.” 

Cheetham further noted CAP’s recent YouGov survey showed Philippine consumers believe a government regulation for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block pirated content would be the most effective measure to reduce piracy in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Anton Bonifacio, Globe’s chief information security officer, said, “Revising the Intellectual Property Code will go a long way in protecting Filipino consumers from the dangers that lurk in pirate sites and improving cybersecurity in the country, especially as Filipinos now rely heavily on digital platforms.”

Jil Go, KROMA’s head of broadcast and publishing, noted, “Upholding intellectual property rights in the Philippines enables the creative industry to grow and thrive. KROMA, through the Video Coalition of the Philippines, is committed to collaborating with stakeholders to ensure that this is observed, for the industry’s success and sustainability.”

Joseph T. Francia, GMA International’s first vice president and head of operations, said, “GMA’s participation in the Video Coalition of the Philippines presents an opportunity to further strengthen our existing anti-piracy initiatives by working with other players in the industry to push for the implementation of site blocking mechanisms and help protect our viewers and GMA content against unauthorised uploaders.”

Pointing to the impact of site blocking in Indonesia, where traffic to pirate sites has dropped by more than 75% since the government implemented their rolling site blocking procedures in 2019, Cheetham further noted, “The effectiveness of site blocking is backed up by CAP’s most recent YouGov consumer surveys in which more than 50% of Indonesian consumers say that they have stopped or rarely access pirate services as a result of the highly efficient and effective blocking measures in place there.”

“Perhaps, more importantly, 76% of Indonesian consumers say they are accessing more legal content and pirating less, and 26% have subscribed to legitimate sources as a result of illegal streaming sites being blocked. Blocking as an educational tool may also be evident in 95% of Indonesian consumers agreeing that online piracy does have negative consequences – the highest in the region,” said Cheetham.