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Government, ISPs team up to block pirated sites
In a statement yesterday, IPOPHL said the partnership was put forward during a focused group discussion attended by nearly 50 representatives from relevant government agencies and ISPs last April 8.
Pixabay/File

Government, ISPs team up to block pirated sites

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) will work together to put up a mechanism for the rapid blocking of pirated sites.

In a statement yesterday, IPOPHL said the partnership was put forward during a focused group discussion attended by nearly 50 representatives from relevant government agencies and ISPs last April 8.

Participating ISPs include Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, PLDT, Sky Cable, Converge ICT Solutions and DITO Telecommunity.

The partnership will be institutionalized through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will cover the protocol for the site blocking process and provide each party’s commitments.

Site blocking could take around two hours after an order is received from NTC.

The order to block a site would be given by the NTC following IPOPHL’s order based on an evaluation of a verified complaint from the concerned IP right holder regarding piracy.

IPOPHL said the ISPs see the collaboration as a way to prevent the shutdown of false positives or legitimate and law abiding sites and ensure continued access to such sites.

Ann Edillon, officer-in-charge at the IPOPHL’s IP rights enforcement office (IEO), said the agency’s complaint validation process would make sure there is evidence pointing to a case of piracy before a referral to block the site is made 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,” she said.

As some of the ISPs are open to have the IPOPHL directly issue the blocking order, IPOPHL said this arrangement would also be explored during the discussions of the MOU.

At present, there are various bills seeking to amend the IP Code being consolidated by the House of Representatives’ committee on trade and industry and among the proposed amendments is to expand the IEO’s administrative enforcement powers to issue blocking orders to be acted upon immediately by the NTC.

Last week, IPOPHL also partnered with the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) to work together on site blocking and in battling piracy in the country.

AVIA, which aims to enable the growth of television and video companies in Asia Pacific, hopes to see a significant reduction in piracy in the Philippines, similar to other countries the group has helped.

According to a 2020 survey commissioned by AVIA and conducted by YouGov, demand for pirated content in the Philippines is among the highest across Southeast Asia, with 49 percent of Filipino respondents admitting to having accessed piracy streaming websites.

As the agency is forging partnerships to fight piracy, IPOPHL deputy director general Teodoro Pascua encouraged IP rights holders to file a complaint so they can “test the blocking process as soon as possible.”

“With these inter-coordination mechanisms being developed, IP right holders must be more active and emboldened to enforce their IP rights and file a complaint with our IEO. Rest assured that IPOPHL and its anti-piracy partners will work hard to ensure the successful and timely removal of their pirated content online and avert the losses of an already struggling industry,” he said.

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