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Fight against piracy continues

'In this age where our filmmakers are becoming a lot more global, it’s important to have awareness and a better appreciation of how they can be protected.”

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Like many people across the world, Filipinos consume a lot of their content through the internet. And while it’s easy to think piracy is on the wane because of decline in use of physical formats, illegal streaming services and downloading are widespread problems, said Film Development Council of the Philippines chairperson Liza Diño-Seguerra.

(FROM LEFT): Atty. Joji Lorenzo, Quantum Films producer; Josephine Santiago, Intellectual Property of The Philippines Director General; Liza Diño-Seguerra, Film Development Council of The Philippines chairperson; and Yoly Crisanto, Globe Telcom senior vice president for corporate communications (mb.com.ph)

(FROM LEFT): Atty. Joji Alonso, Quantum Films producer; Josephine Santiago, Intellectual Property of The Philippines Director General; Liza Diño-Seguerra, Film Development Council of The Philippines chairperson; and Yoly Crisanto, Globe Telcom senior vice president for corporate communications

In an interview, she stressed the negative impact of online piracy to the economy. Based on her research, there’s a 75% increase in Philippine page views for illegal online streaming from the year 2016 to 2017.

“Even with recent legitimate streaming sites offering services to the public, online piracy is still a significant problem to the film industry,” she noted. “As the industry contributes 11 billion to the Philippine economy, there is still certainly much cause for concern. Studies show revenues can increase by 15% if piracy is addressed.”

“As a development agency tasked to make sure we have a healthy eco-system for our stakeholders not just only for the exhibitors, producers, distributors and also for our audience. We have to take part against piracy. It’s really a challenge, and we understand that,” she added. “In this age where our filmmakers are becoming a lot more global, meaning their projects are not just being locally appreciated but also has opportunity to travel internationally, it’s so important to have awareness and a better appreciation of how they can be protected.”

According to an analysis of Alexa data in 2016, Filipino users accessed piracy websites over 22 million times compared to their 18 million visits to the top three legal websites for movies and television shows.

Quantum Films producer Atty. Joji Alonso expressed dismay over the matter. She recalled being offered to buy a pirated copy of her first produced film on the streets of Manila.

“I saw my pirated film on DVD, even using the content on my poster with an attaching synopsis while the vendor approached me, ‘Suki, suki DVD oh!”’ she shared. “I felt the pain, I felt betrayed. For me, it’s important to embrace the creativity of filmmakers and the labor they pour into each film that is produced.”

“The widespread practice of illegal streaming and downloading sends our community of Filipino filmmakers a troubling message that Filipino audiences do not value their creative thinking and unique artistry,” she noted. “As a nation of movie-lovers and story-tellers, we need to change this mindset that tolerates piracy is unavoidable and acceptable. We must all play our part to this issue.”

Enter The Right Stuff (www.therightstuff.film), a website featuring the latest news, trends and perspectives on the promotion and protection of creative content. It features reports and opinions about the local cineastes community, policy updates and other issues affecting the film and television industry; raises awareness about the Filipino creative community and the shows they produce; and aims to encourage them to access only legitimate content.

“As an artist myself, I can personally attest to the painstaking and demanding process of producing a film, of telling your story to the world. Piracy declines the hard work and the heart of our filmmakers. We want to instill a culture of appreciation 5among Filipino audiences in the way they view our local films, so they will have a better understanding on the importance of protecting our own films,” Diño said.

Apart from the Republic Act. No 10088 or “An Act to prohibit and penalize the unauthorized use, possession and/or control of audiovisual recording devices for the unauthorized recording of cinematographic films and other audiovisual works and/or their soundtracks in an exhibition facility, providing penalties therefor and for other purposes,” Diño and Alonso said public and private sectors must come together to develop a customized site-blocking model against infringing websites, and establish legislation that will provide policy-driven action against illegal downloading and streaming of content.

Hand in hand

Major markets across the globe have implemented site blocking measures. It’s been proven effective in preventing illegal sharing and consumption of copyrighted content.

In the Philippines, Globe Telecom has been acknowledged for its #PlayRight, an initiative to help the entertainment industry curb piracy and protect intellectual property rights. Since its launch in 2017, the campaign has led to the blocking of illegal torrent sites, particularly those with pornographic content.

Josephine Santiago, Director General of the Intellectual Property Office in the Philippines said, “We must join forces in making the public aware of the massive copyright infringement through Plug and Play infringement that ISDs promote. We dread to see the day when theaters and televisions would be airing no new content — when filmmakers and producers would have lost all passion and interest in their craft owing to piracy. Let us not make this happen.”

To raise awareness on the importance of IPR and the impact of IPR crimes, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Proclamation 190 declaring April of every year as National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Month. Throughout April, various programs and activities will be carried out by the IPO and other industry players to educate various sectors of the public.

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