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Philippines: Copyright infringement legislation proposed

December 31, 2018

By Colin Mann

Philippines Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed Senate Bill 2109, or the proposed Philippine Online Infringement Act, which seeks to enable the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), through the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), to revoke the licences of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which allow websites to infringe or facilitate the infringement of copyright.

The Bill aims to stop online piracy by compelling ISPs “to take reasonable steps to disable access to sites whenever they are reported to be infringing copyright or facilitating copyright infringement”.

In a explanatory note accompanying the Bill,  Sotto said that unfortunately, the Philippines was one of the countries described by Internet pirates as ‘safe’ for uploading, downloading, linking, torrenting, and stream infringing content without fear of prosecution. “The Philippines continues to be a haven for cybercriminals who illegally make content available on the Internet,” he added, suggesting it was the obligation of the State to protect the works of Filipino artists — “may it be actors, singers, painters and application developers”.

The Bill proposes that copyright owners or exclusive licensees shall file an application to the IPO to require ISPs to disable infringing websites. Within 15 days, the IPO shall review the application and report its findings to the copyright owner, as well as to the ISPs.

A Review Committee shall then look into the IPO report and decide whether or not the concerned website infringes copyright with its content. Its ruling shall be sent back to the IPO, which would then issue an order to the ISPs to take action on the copyright owner’s report, if the petition was granted; or notice to the owner that his or her application was denied.

The ISPs must comply with the order within 10 days, unless they would challenge the IPO decision.

Whether or not the petition was granted or denied, the IPO should forward its order to the NTC. Should a petition be granted and the ISP failed or refused to comply, the IPO could recommend to the NTC the cancellation of its licence. The NTC would then investigate the IPO’s recommendation and determine if the cancellation would be “proper and meritorious”.

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