House probe on reported ‘online piracy’ of 2020 MMFF films sought
MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers are seeking an investigation on the reported online piracy of featured movies in the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
In his privilege speech during Monday’s session of the House of Representatives, actor and lawmaker Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas assailed the rampant movie piracy in the country that has gone “from bad to worse” and is endangering the survival of the industry and the livelihood of thousands of movie workers.
“It is for this reason that I am asking Congress, through the Special Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts, and other concerned committees, to look into the piracy that occurred during the last film festival, and draft the necessary legislation to curb the proliferation of movie piracy,” said Vargas, who serves as vice-chairperson of the House committee on public information and a member of the creative industry and performing arts special committee.
According to Vargas, total revenues generated through ticket sales of the 10 entries in the 2020 MMFF only reached P19 million – merely 1.9 percent of the 2019 MMFF revenue of more than P995 million.
The Optical Media Board (OMB) has so far arrested and filed charges against 18 individuals for illegally downloading and distributing the MMFF entries.
“Hindi lahat ng mga producer ay mayaman. May mga producer na gumagawa ng pelikula dahil ito ang sining nila, advocacy nila, passion nila. Ang industriya ay negosyo. ‘Pag nalugi, magsasara,” Vargas pointed out.
“Ang pinakalamaking dagok ay mararamdaman ng mga ordinaryong manggagawa na dati nang mahirap na lalo pang pinahihirapan ng pandemya,” he added.
Citing a 2020 survey commissioned by the Coalition Against Piracy, Vargas said incidence of online movie piracy in the country is at a high 49 percent. This is in contrast to the decline in cases of online piracy in the Philippines’ neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
“These countries were able to bring down the incidence of online movie piracy significantly because of effective, determined, and pro-active measures put in place by their governments to stop the proliferation of online piracy sites,” Vargas said.
“Mahigpit ang kanilang mga batas (They have strict laws). Gumagamit sila ng (They use) technology. Maraming nahuhuli (Many are arrested). Maraming nakukulong na mga pirata (Many pirates are jailed),” he added.
Meanwhile, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher De Venecia, who chairs the creative industry and performing arts special committee, said 30 congressmen will be filing a resolution to investigate incidents of online piracy during the 2020 MMFF.
“Ang epekto po ng online piracy ay babalik din sa ating mga consumers. Kapag nawalan na ng gana ang ating mga producers ay hindi na tayo makakapanood ng magagandang kwento at magagandang cinematography na kinagigiliwan ng maraming Pilipino, lalo na ng kabataan,” De Venecia said.
“In short, marami po ang mawawala sa ating kultura bilang mga Pilipino kung patuloy na nanakawin ang mga pelikula online,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.