IPOPHL’s cooperation with Internet Service Providers in the fight against piracyAAA IPRIGHT2
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) have cooperated with the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) to organize a joint mechanism to deal with the piracy in Philippines. This decisive act by 3 repute organizations will facilitate a more streamlined and speedy blocking of pirated sites.
On April 8, IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba has proposed this alliance at the focused group discussion (FGD) attended by nearly 50 representatives from associated government agencies and ISPs.
Participating ISPs comprise Globe Telecom, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc., PLDT, Inc., Sky Cable Corp., Converge ICT Solutions Inc., and DITO Telecommunity Corp.
Mutual efforts to fight against piracy
The alliance will be established through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will lay down a clear-cut inter-coordination protocol for the site blocking process.
In addition, the MoU will also consist of each party’s commitments that will guarantee the practical implementation of the site-blocking process.
One of the ISPs said that an order from NTC may take around two hours to reach them. Furthermore, that order from NTC results from IPOPHL’s order based on the latter’s appreciation of a verified complaint from the concerned IP right holder regarding piracy.
Regarding this issue, ISPs have expressed their support for this initiative. They see this as a platform to prevent the shutting down of “false positives” or legitimately law-abiding sites and ensure that all citizens can have the ease to access these sites.
IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) Officer-in-Charge Director Ann N. Edillon guaranteed that IEO’s complaint validation process is a “fine-toothed comb”. This means that the process will first check the validity of all evidence related to a specific piracy case, then they will refer a blocking to the NTC.
“The duration of IPOPHL’s investigations will depend on the merits of the case and evidence submitted, but we always ensure a speedy and thoroughly validated decision,” Edillon told ISPs.
The ISPs welcomed the development made possible through the collaboration with IPOPHL and NTC. Another key point in the cooperation that is still left open for future adjustment is that IPOPHL may directly issue the blocking order. This arrangement will be left for further discussion and modification during the reviews of the MoU.
IP Code’s necessity in the following changes
Regarding the matter to allow IPOPHL more influence in the blocking of piracy sites, some ISPs have expressed their concern for an “enabling law” that will institutionalize IPOPHL’s authority to block piracy sites and eliminate the current protocol. This is due to the fact the existing protocol takes too long to process. Specifically, the NTC has to validate IPOPHL’s order––a process that can add days to a matter that ideally requires real-time blocking, and after that long approval time, the piracy sites may relocate or the evidence of the act might have been deleted.
At the moment, various bills are being consolidated by the House of Representatives Committee on Trade and Industry to amend the IP Code and align the Philippine IP system with modern global legal and technological trends.
Among the introduced amendments is the extension of IEO’s administrative enforcement authorities to issue blocking orders, which will be acted upon immediately by the NTC.
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