An advocacy group championing citizen welfare has lauded the lapsing into law of Republic Act 11904 or the Philippine Creatives Industry Act, saying that this is a major step toward achieving the full potential of the country’s creatives industry.
“Finally, we have a law that institutes government support for the creatives industry,” said Atty. Tim Abejo, co-convenor of CitizenWatch Philippines. “Our artists and workers in the creatives sector have been needing this for a long time because of the many factors that undermine their work, cause them to feel undervalued and even exploited, and limit their potential.”
“In the long run, this will also be good for consumers who will have a greater array of original, quality, and home-grown content,” he said.
But the next question, Abejo said, is whether our government would be able to implement the law so it achieves its objectives of building a globally competitive creatives industry.
The law defines the creatives industry as “trades involving persons, whether natural or juridical, that produce cultural, artistic and innovative goods and services originating in human creativity, skill and talent, and having a potential to create wealth and livelihood through the generation and utilization of intellectual property.”
RA 11904 mandates the government to promote the development and the rights afforded to the creatives industry and to Filipino creatives. It establishes the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council (PCIDC), an agency that would be attached to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The government has earlier said it envisions the Philippines to be the number one creative economy in Southeast Asia in terms of the size and value of our creative industries, as well as creating strong demand for our creative services and original content in international markets.
Thus, support for the creatives industry also harnesses its potential to compete globally. “The council that will oversee the implementation of the law has been placed under the DTI for a specific reason,” Abejo said.
“It is there to ensure that Filipinos’ creative spirit, aside from being encouraged, will also translate to a level of competitiveness that will allow Filipinos to develop entire industries instead of just being hired here and there by bigger international outfits.”
This new law will benefit the creative industries in general and our individual artists and the direct and indirect stakeholders of the Philippine creatives industry, Abejo added.
“With government support, the possibilities will only be limited by our imagination.”
Abejo pointed out, however, that the passage and even the implementation of RA 11904 would not be enough to protect creatives practitioners without the immediately amending the Intellectual Property Code to enable the purging of online piracy websites.
“Along these lines, we also articulate our plea to our lawmakers for the fast passage of House Bill 0799 that increases the powers of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines,” Abejo said.
The bill gives regulators power to mete out “permanent blocking orders, take down orders, cease-and-desist, or disable access orders, to the intermediary service providers, domain name registries and registrars, website owners, online intermediaries, online platforms, social media platforms, or any similar medium in relation to an online violation of intellectual property rights.”
“The proposed piece of legislation empowers the IPOPHL to implement rolling site blocking to efficiently go after online pirates who violate intellectual property and threaten the viability of the industry,” Abejo said, adding that this method is already being adopted by other countries to satisfactory results.
Site blocking is an anti-piracy mechanism where access to a particular website is restricted. To be effective, it requires constant coordination and information sharing between government, internet service providers, and stakeholders. A rolling site blocking is a more pro-active form of site blocking.
“At least P1 billion in potential revenue were lost in 2020 by creative professionals – video producers, distributors and aggregators, according to an estimate by Media Partners Asia. In the same period, subscription on-demand services lost P6.3 billion,” Abejo said.
Aside from this, online piracy elevates the risk of malware infection and compromises data privacy, with many privacy websites containing advertisements that promote pornography and exposes the youth to gambling, he said.
In line with the push for greater IP protection in the Philippines, the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) and the Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) will host a summit called “Content Piracy: A Barrier to Economic Growth and a Danger to Consumers. This will be held Friday, September 2 in Taguig City.