^

Opinion

EDITORIAL – Piracy

-
A visiting US official drew indignation from some quarters when he complained about copyright infringement in the Philippines. William Lash III, US assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance, had visited Virra Mall in Greenhills, San Juan last Saturday. Reports said he was shocked to see pirated software, music and movie discs in abundant supply at the mall. Lash easily bought copies of pirated DVDs of new releases from Hollywood, including Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Die Another Day.

Philippine officials countered that the government has made significant inroads in the fight against copyright violations. In recent months the public has indeed seen thousands of pirated goods being confiscated and destroyed by authorities in Metro Manila and other parts of the Philippines. Places where pirated items were produced were raided and shut down.

The latest raid, however, gives an indication of the hurdles the government faces in its campaign to protect intellectual property rights. Early yesterday the Maharlika Village in Taguig swarmed with policemen and members of the Videogram Regulatory Board. The raiders swooped down on several houses where they believed pirated products were being made. Police said about 50 percent of the pirated music and movie discs sold in Quiapo, Manila came from the village. After a sweep that lasted five and a half hours, the raiding team had seized pirated products and equipment valued at P6 million.

The prize catch, however, was not the pirated items but a suspect, who happens to be a policeman assigned in Lanao del Norte. Senior Superintendent Laud Sari denied involvement in piracy operations. He claimed he was in Metro Manila because he was spending the night with a relative in preparation for his visit to Saudi Arabia. That didn’t stop Interior Secretary Jose Lina from suspending Sari pending the outcome of the investigation.

There are many other areas in the Philippines where pirated products can be easily obtained. If policemen with the rank equivalent of a military colonel are involved, you can understand why pirated software, CDs and VCDs proliferate. Not that consumers are complaining. But if the nation wants to be taken seriously when it complains about unfair trade practices, it should also take more stringent measures against copyright infringement.

DIE ANOTHER DAY

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

INTERIOR SECRETARY JOSE LINA

MAHARLIKA VILLAGE

METRO MANILA

PIRATED

SAN JUAN

SAUDI ARABIA

SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT LAUD SARI

VIDEOGRAM REGULATORY BOARD

VIRRA MALL

  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with