23 May 2023

The Philippines will reap significant benefits from enforcing site blocking to combat piracy, the latest YouGov consumer surveys commissioned by the Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) showed, redounding to the vibrancy of the P1.60-trillion creative industry, a top contributor to the economy.

The Globe Group said this as it celebrated the passage of House Bill No. 7600, which proposes revisions to the country’s 26-year-old Intellectual Property (IP) Code, including allowing site blocking, to address gaps that have allowed online piracy to endure and to empower regulators to act against violators.

The bill, authored by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, was approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives on Monday, May 22. The bill will then be transmitted to the Senate.

“The Globe Group congratulates Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda for steering House Bill No. 7600 towards its triumphant passage at the House. This is a landmark achievement for the creative industry, with the bill a step closer to becoming a law. We are inching closer towards ensuring more stringent protection for our content creators and their livelihood,” said Globe Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer Yoly Crisanto.

“Piracy not only jeopardizes the livelihood of content creators and other works in the creative industry but also worsens consumer exposure to malware risks. Revisions to the IP code are essential for bolstering a digital landscape that is secure and equitable,” she said.

CAP surveys showed that in countries where site blocking is being effectively implemented, positive behavioral change has been observed, with 62% of consumers in Indonesia and 64% in Malaysia changing their viewing habits, opting instead to watch free and legal streaming or either stopping or reducing use of pirate sites.

In the Philippines, 58% of consumers engage with pirated content, yet they expressed willingness to pay for legal content if not available on piracy services. Based on multiple answers, the survey revealed that 53% of respondents would pay for subscription services, 15% for individual pay-per-view, 28% for cinema viewings, 13% for Blu-Ray or DVD, and 39% would opt for legitimate ad-supported media such as free-to-air or online platforms.

Filipino consumers are in favor of government intervention against piracy. Allowed to give multiple answers, 45% of the respondents advocate for government or court orders for Internet Service Providers to block pirate websites, 27% favor banning the sale of Android TV Boxes providing access to pirated content, and 39% support banning apps that provide access to pirated content.

“Site blocking is an effective tool for steering consumers towards legitimate content sources. This, coupled with legislative reform, can safeguard our creative industry, which is a vital part of our economy,” Crisanto said.

The creative industry is a vital contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), accounting for approximately 7.3 percent or P1.6 trillion of the gross value-added in 2022, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority. However, this figure was already lower than the 7.5 percent reported in 2018, primarily due to piracy.

Globe has long been advocating against piracy through the #PlayItRight program, which seeks support for the protection of content creators amid the prevalence of pirated content.

It is part of the Video Coalition of the Philippines, formed last year with key industry stakeholders and the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) to champion stronger intellectual property protection in the country. Currently, the IP code’s definition of pirated goods excludes electronic or online content. It also lacks provision for the effective blocking of pirate sites.

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