PH seeks removal from piracy list
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines is hoping to be removed from the United States’ piracy watch list through a favorable recommendation from a special US assessment team that will visit the country this year.
The team from the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) will assess the Philippines’ progress in implementing Republic Act No. 10372, or the Intellectual Property Code, particularly in the formulation of the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) covering seven concerns, including copyright infringement, enforcement and collective management organization.
Ricardo Blancaflor, the director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), said he had asked for the special assessment team to visit the Philippines as early as July as the USTR reportedly wanted to send the team before yearend.
Blancaflor said that while the IRRs are still being drafted, the team can already check whether the Philippine government is serious in the issuance of these rules.
He believes the US team would find that the Philippines has “complied with [the] implementation of the law, [and] we will be lifted from the watchlist.”
A USTR report in May showed that the Philippines remained on the US watch list because of persistent problems like the unauthorized “camcording” of motion pictures in movie theaters and Internet piracy.
“Additional challenges remain with respect to addressing piracy over the Internet, in particular notorious online markets, and the need to strengthen IPR enforcement efforts. The US looks forward to working with the Philippines in the coming year to address these issues and will review its Special 301 status if the Philippines continues to achieve progress in key areas,” the report said.
In a related development, Blancaflor reported that the value of fake goods seized by member agencies of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) fell by about 30 percent in the first half of 2013 to P2.173 billion.
This was mainly because there were less high-value goods (such as counterfeit Louis Vuitton and Swiss watches) seized during the January-June 2013 period compared to last year, he said.
He reported that confiscations made by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) accounted for the bulk at P1.299 billion, followed by the Bureau of Customs, with P471 million during the first six months of the year.
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