Accord Signed to Pursue Cable Pirates in Philippines

Apr. 04, 2007

Makati City The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of last years memorandum of agreement. The IRR will expedite the resolution of cases filed with the NTC against cable operators involving violations of intellectual property rights, and NTC rules and regulations.

The IRR provides for a means to resolve complaints involving intellectual property issues in the cable industry. We are grateful for the participation of the private sector in helping us craft the agreement, and for the local government units in monitoring and enforcing IP laws in this sector. This is a result of the successful public-private partnerships we have formed in the cable industry, Atty. Adrian S. Cristobal Jr., Director General of IP Philippines, said.

Aside from this administrative mechanism, the offended party can still file a criminal or civil complaint against the alleged cable pirate for violating laws on intellectual property rights and cable piracy, Cristobal added.

The two government agencies held a public hearing on February 21, 2007 for the IRR and solicited suggestions from the stakeholders who were present. Members of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), the Philippine Cable Television Association (PCTA), and other cable companies attended the hearing. They submitted their comments before the draft of the IRR was finalized.

In its official comments, CASBAA and its members warmly welcome the prospect of effective action by the Philippine government to protect intellectual property rights in the broadcasting industry.

Under the agreement, the offended party may directly file a complaint against cable operators with IP Philippines for violations of intellectual property rights (IPR). The complainant may also opt to file first with the NTC, which exercises jurisdiction over all administrative cases involving violation of permits, issuance of licenses and authority to operate radio and television broadcasts including cable TV.

If the NTC determines that the case is an IPR violation, it shall endorse the complaint to IP Philippines for appropriate action. IP Philippines shall furnish copies of its orders, decisions or resolutions to NTC. These documents will help NTC in determining whether or not to grant, suspend or cancel a license of a cable operator. If, for instance, IP Philippines issues a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) against a cable operator in a pending case, NTC will not issue or renew the cable operators license.

The IRR forms part of a joint program of IP Philippines and NTC in monitoring and enforcing IP laws in the cable industry. The two agencies have a calendar of activities that include workshops and trainings for their officials to enhance skills in resolving issues related to cable piracy. (PR)

comments powered by Disqus