SOPA in the Philippines?

Written by Russell Co. Posted in Internet, News

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Published on July 31, 2012 with No Comments


It seems the Europe and the United States won’t be the only ones experiencing SOPA-like bills in the making. Buhay Party-list Reps. Irwin C. Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde stressed the need to push for the expedient passage of a bill that looks quite like the SOPA bill that resulted in public outrage over the Internet.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a United States bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith that was aimed at increasing the ability of law enforcement to fight online piracy that included intellectual property and counterfeit goods. SOPA was met with heavy criticism on both sides as those against felt that SOPA would lead to massive censorship of the Web, while those for felt that it was a proper solution to fighting online piracy. In protest against the bill, numerous sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit, took to shutting down for a day.

The bill being pushed by the Bayan representatives is House Bill 6187, also known as the “Anti-Online Piracy Act” which seeks to penalize first time offenders with a fine of P50,000 to P150,000 plus imprisonment of 2 years. Subsequent offenses will incur a fine of P150,000 to P300,000 and 3 years imprisonment. One twist is that Irwin Tieng is the nephew of Wilson Tieng; current CEO of Solar Entertainment, which some have seen as a conflict of interest.

Velarde states that as a signatory to the WIPO  Copyright Treaty (WCT), the Philippines has a duty to fulfill its commitments of protecting the rights of intellectual property owners. According to the bill it prohibits and declares piracy of any form to be unlawful. An excerpt from Velarde in the official statement is as follows.

“Offering of goods or services, or providing access in a manner not authorized by the copyright owner, copies of music recordings or films, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including by means of download, streaming, provision of a link or aggregated links to other sites is also prohibited,”

One important point in this excerpt is that it includes streaming. This could mean that in effect they could potentially block YouTube and other similar sites because you listened to a song on it. There is a reason bills such as these sparked the ire of the internet as multiple forms have been shot down across the western world. This just shows that are willing to take a stand on what they feel might lead to an infringement of their rights.