07 April 2009

Toothless Anti-Piracy Law

Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT)
For several years now, government law enforcement agencies has been warning Filipinos to avoid downloading music, movies and software from the Internet. This campaign is supported by the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), a consultant for the software organization Business Software Alliance (BSA).

However, this same group is also saying that they will have a had time pinning, trapping and prosecuting individuals caught until the country’s Intellectual Property Code is amended.

BSA consultant Bienvenido Marquez III said in an interview that end-users should also be liable for piracy, even if downloads are for personal use. This pronouncement came after the growing usage and decreasing cost of broadband Internet services in the Philippines are now allowing people to download larger files, such as software and movies, into their hard drives.

"We can't prosecute individuals because there is no such law. However, we can go after individuals or even shops caught sharing or selling downloaded items," he said.

He added that even the E-Commerce Law has no specific provisions on prosecuting piracy through downloading. This has led Congressman Rufus Rodriguez and Senator Edgardo Angara to several proposed amendments to the current IPR Code.

It cannot be denied that downloading of illegal content from the Internet has increased worldwide and in the Philippines and that losses could be in the millions. There are several software applications and peer-to-peer websites that allow downloading of content from the Internet.

However, there are few laws abroad governing prosecution of users who download content from the Internet partly because content are hosted in different places abroad. And if this problem is observed mostly in developing countries where technology for monitoring are very much advance than in the Philippines, how can the legislators expect any amendment to be effective.

Besides, as long as poverty is widespread in this country, people will always seek products and items that will cost less as long as it can give them the same level of fulfillment and satisfaction. It is strongly suggested that the government should try to address this problem first before they do anything else.