Arts & Leisure

Bawal Kumopya campaign as country exits US watch list

Posted on July 15, 2014

LOCAL RECORD industry group Philippine Association of the Record Industry, Inc. (PARI) has lauded government efforts that led to the removal of the Philippines from the US piracy watch list.

A poster for the new anti-piracy campaign -- WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PARIINC
This as it launched a new campaign to discourage youngsters from copying intellectual property.

The Office of US Trade Representative (USTR) announced in April that it had removed the Philippines from its piracy watch list after two decades following significant reforms put in place by Manila.

PARI Chairman Marivic A. Benedicto welcomed the removal of the Philippines from the watch list, saying that the development raises prospects for increased trade and investment between Manila and Washington.

"The removal of the Philippines from the US piracy watch list sends a strong message that intellectual property is respected in the Philippines," Ms. Benedicto told reporters last week. "It sends a strong signal that products are safe in the Philippines," she added.

In a statement posted on its Web site shortly before the state visit of US President Barack H. Obama to Manila earlier this year, the USTR said the Philippines (which had been regularly on the watch list since 1994, and was first listed in 1989), had undertaken in recent years "significant legislative and regulatory reforms" to protect and enforce intellectual property rights rules.

Officials said the USTR decision would boost investor confidence in the Philippines. The United States is among of the country’s top three trading partners.

"Removal from the watch list creates the proper investment climate," Ms. Benedicto said. "It reflects a vibrant rule of law system where foreign trading partners can feel secure in doing business in the country," she added.

Last week, PARI honored the Optical Media Board (OMB), and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) for helping the local recording industry curb piracy and fighting counterfeit products.

PARI lauded OMB Chairman Ronnie N. Ricketts for being "very successful in addressing optical media piracy in the Philippines."

"Our achievements were borne not just out of the agency’s hard work and perseverance in conducting operations, but also of our coordination with other government agencies," Mr. Ricketts told reporters.

He said the OMB was able to confiscate P178.7 million in fake goods during the first quarter of 2014, contributing to the government’s total first-quarter haul of P6.2 billion. This is a substantial increase from the P1.3 billion worth of seized counterfeit products during the same three-month period last year, Mr. Ricketts added.

Meanwhile, PARI honored IPOPHL for conducting physical piracy visits to establishments reported to have been violating intellectual property rights.

Recently, through the complaint of PARI members, the IPOPHL was able to take down one of the notorious local torrent sites called (KickAss Torrents), by issuing a 72-hour temporary restraining order (TRO) against its operations.

IPOPHL Director-General Ricardo R. Blancaflor said the restraining order was later expanded to another 20 days, which prompted the owners of to abandon the domain.

"This showed how serious the Philippine government is in addressing online copyright infringement," Mr. Blancaflor told reporters.

Ms. Benedicto said PARI together with the OMB and the IPOPHL recently unveiled its latest anti-piracy campaign called Bawal Kumopya (copying is forbidden).

She said Bawal Kumopya is a nationwide sticker campaign aimed at creating anti-piracy awareness among Filipinos, especially among students.

She added that Bawal Kumopya billboards will also be set up to provide a feedback system where people can report any form of movie or music piracy by calling the OMB hot line 373-6829.

"This is also a partnership with the legitimate retail outlets of movie and music products, and the members of PARI to ensure that Bawal Kumopya stickers will be distributed and displayed nationwide," Ms. Benedicto said. -- Jeffrey O. Valisno