NCIPR Moves to Intensify Enforcement of Anti-Camcording Law, A Boost for the Film Industry  

Published on September 4, 2019

The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), with the participation of its member-agencies concerned with the implementation of Republic Act 10088 or the Anti-Camcording Act of 2010, met last August 28, Wednesday, at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) to strategise and heighten measures in the combat against unauthorized recording of cinematographic films and audio-visuals in exhibition facilities pursuant to law. 

This effort is in line with the NCIPR’s mandate to intensify public information on the importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and to strengthen regular and effective enforcement against IPR violations such as illegal or unauthorized recording of movies and soundtracks in cinemas. These efforts are opportune to the preparations for a series of Philippine film festivals such as the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino and the Manila Film Festival, to be held in the coming months. 

The interagency group, which the IPOPHL steers as vice-chair, agreed on the need for the facilitation of the deputization of more NCIPR member-agencies and relevant private stakeholders to allow for a wider area of coverage in the implementation of the law. 

Under the Anti-Camcording Law, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation are the principal authorities who can enforce the law. Only the PNP, however, may deputize, for a definite period, other government agencies or representatives of concerned industries to assist in the enforcement functions provided by the law. 

The PNP, for its part, assured to fast-track and work out with the NCIPR and relevant stakeholders appropriate arrangements for the effective implementation of the law which includes drawing up rules for the deputization process. 

In response to expanding the network of PNP-deputised authorities, IPOPHL through IP Academy, the Office's training and education unit, will conduct a series of workshops to strengthen the capacity of NCIPR members in enforcing the Anti-Camcording Law. 

Increasing awareness nationwide

The NCIPR also agreed to bolster awareness of the Anti-Camcording Law nationwide in order to engage as many individuals in countering piracy. 

"The action plan will require a whole-of-society approach. We will need the cooperation of movie theaters, motion picture associations, stakeholders in the film industry and other private stakeholders, as well as the vigilance of moviegoers themselves," IPOPHL Deputy Director-General (DDG) Teodoro C. Pascua said at the meeting.

Film Development Council of the Philippines Chair Liza B. Diño highly appreciated NCIPR's efforts to put as many players, both from the public and private sectors, onboard in the fight against piracy. 

"The piracy issues that the various industries are facing are really killing them. It may not be so visual in such a way that no one is murdered but it's economic sabotage to the different industries that have intellectual property as their main investments. So I hope we can make this a priority because a lot is at stake, especially for our creators, if we want to sustain this industry. And if [we] want to look forward to a brighter next-hundred-years of Philippine cinema, then there must be a more strengthened partnership between government and stakeholders to fight piracy," Chair Diño said. 

Atty. Maria Trinidad P. Villareal, a legal counsel to the Motion Picture Association, also expressed frustration over how many still perceive piracy as a lighter offense as compared to many other crimes. 

"Most individuals who are in this style of business will surely exhaust all efforts to see the continuity of their operations. These are their little bread and butter, which is not so ugly because it's not drug trafficking, it's just pirating of films. And it is so sad because it's actually pirating of a cultural icon, products of minds," Atty. Villareal said at the meeting. 

The movie industry and NCIPR members also agreed to seek help from theater owners who are mandated by the Anti-Camcording Law to put in place mechanisms that deter piracy and effectively capture pirates. The IPOPHL is inviting the major theater and mall operators to a discussion on the matter on Sept. 6, 2019.

Seeking preventive measures

Chair Diño proposed further research into previous illegal camcording incidents to identify whether there are specific “hotspots” for such activities so that efforts can be focused in these areas. 

DDG Pascua noted that movie theaters abroad are already employing the newest anti-camcording technologies, with one able to detect camera lenses—whether of cellphones or of standalone camcorders—in the dark. The IPOPHL official urged local movie house owners and film industry players to also invest in similar technologies. 

As for protecting the rights of performers, the IP Academy said it will soon hold a targeted training course for actors, singers, dancers, and other creative rights owners in a bid to guide them on the preventive measures they can take to safeguard their intellectual property assets, and on how they can promptly report those they suspect are infringing on their rights.