Illegal streaming surges at the outset of quarantine-IPOPHL
CALOOCAN CITY, April 22 (PIA)–Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines’ (IPOPHL) Director General Rowel S. Barba warned the public against the rise in piracy in the local setting in midst of the community quarantine implemented due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from IPOPHL’s Enforcement Office (IEO) show that counterfeiting and piracy complaints for March alone stood at 21, already surpassing the 14 complaints received for the entire 2019.
Of the March 2020 reports, four or 19% involved piracy, specifically illegal streaming and illegal downloading of movies, making for the first piracy complaints of the year. All have been reported to rights holders and platforms, three have been taken down while two are pending for resolution.
“The findings are expected given that many are scrambling to find various sources of entertainment during the quarantine period. We have taken action by informing the rights holders, associations, and involved platforms and coordinating with them for the successful removal of the offending posts or offers,” Barba said.
The IPOPHL chief added that Facebook was the top platform pervaded by pirates but the social media platform was cooperative enough to immediately take down the offending posts.
Barba said even with the quarantine in place, the IEO has not stopped accepting informal reports which the Office still acts upon by informing rights holders and calling out the reported unscrupulous sellers and/or the marketplaces permeated by the suspected illegal activity.
However, he said that seizure operations and case filings are suspended as trial courts, which issue the search warrants that permit the raids, are also shut.
In the meantime, NCIPR is pinning hopes on its members, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Customs to take on significant roles in the fight against counterfeits, given their authorization to inspect quarantine checkpoints and borders, respectively — part of their regular police powers.
“We were assured by the PNP and Customs that their inspection efforts will be thorough enough to capture counterfeits, arrest their movement, and prevent them from exacerbating our present burdens. Everyone in the NCIPR, thankfully, remains committed to the fight against counterfeiting given its life-and-death stake here,” said IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua who ensures actions on intellectual property rights enforcement within the NCIPR are coordinated.