Philippines gets tough on pirates as police & film industry join hands

MUMBAI: The fight against movie piracy in the Philippines has further intensified as the Philippines National Police (PNP) and the film industry forge an alliance that takes a zero tolerance approach to piracy.

At a press conference in Manila, the PNP was designated the lead agency to enforce and implement the provisions of the Anti-Camcording Act 2010, with the full support and cooperation of the National Cinema Association of the Philippines (NCAP), the Motion Picture Anti Film Piracy Council (MPAFPC) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

With coordination of the private sector and the PNP for the strict enforcement of the law’s provisions, as well as full government support, the Anti-Camcording Law is expected to effectively bolster content protection efforts.

"We will be stalwart in our efforts to see that illegal camcorders be brought to justice. With the law in place, and the entire industry collaborating to ensure the law is upheld, the PNP is confident that the country will achieve success in its bid to minimize – and eventually eradicate – film piracy," said Police Director General Jesus Verzosa, PNP.

"The NCAP welcomes the strong cooperation of the PNP and we are ready to ensure that proper coordination is followed in handling illegal camcording cases. Our members are committed to exercise vigilance in preventing illegal camcording in their facilities and will ensure that staffs are aptly prepared to respond when situations involving suspected illegal camcorders arise," said NCAP’s External Vice President Rolando Dueñas.

"The MPAFPC sees the Anti-Camcording Law as a positive step in the right direction, wherein authorities and law enforcers, the private sector and the general public are all working together to stop illegal camcording in cinemas. While we, along with the distributors, local producers, exhibitors and the PNP, are prepared to take the necessary action against illegal camcording syndicates, we also hope that the public will play a part by reporting illegal camcording incidents to cinema staff or authorities," said Joji Alonso the legal counsel for the MPAFPC and independent film producer.

The MPAFPC has developed manuals and workshop modules jointly with the PNP, which will be shared with the cinemas so that staff can be trained on a standardized process of dealing with suspected illegal camcorders.

"We commend the Philippine government for quickly establishing legislation that can serve to end the cycle of piracy in the country and renew global confidence in the country’s ability to uphold IP rights. As the first country in South East Asia to establish such a law, we hope that the Philippines can serve as an example to other countries by proving the law’s success in stemming the flow of source copies for pirated movies," said Mike Robinson, Senior Vice President Content Protection, Chief of Operations, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Any person who will be found guilty of violating the provisions of the Anti-Camcording Law shall be subject to a fine of $1,000 to $17,000 and will face imprisonment of a minimum six months and one day to six years and one day. Individuals who commit the punishable acts for the purpose of sale, rental or other commercial distribution shall suffer the penalty in the maximum. Foreign offenders shall face immediate deportation after payment of the fine and serving his/her sentence, and will permanently be refused entry to the Philippines. Offenders who are employees of or hold a seat in government will perpetually be disqualified from public office, and will forfeit his/her right to vote and participate in public election for five (5) years.