The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) was recently awarded by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) for its unwavering push to establish the Philippines’ own site-blocking mechanism, a tool seen to better protect the creative economy and create a great consumer shift toward legitimate platforms.
Director General (DG) Rowel S. Barba received the MPA Award at the Intellectual Property Enforcement Summit (IPES) held in November 2023. It was handed over by Neil Gane, Director for the Asia Pacific Operations of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the content protection operations arm of the MPA.
“The memorandum of understanding [MOU] signed by all internet service providers (ISPs) along with IPOPHL, as well as the memorandum of agreement signed by IPOPHL and and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), paved the way for the very first voluntary site-blocking process in the Asia Pacific region and only the second of such voluntary process in the world — an incredible achievement,” said Gane, noting there are currently over 40 countries around the world that use website-blocking to counter online piracy,
The site-blocking mechanism allows disabling access to major sites that provide access to pirated content with the broader goal of migrating consumers away from illegitimate to legitimate ways of consuming content.
This 2023 award was not the first that IPOPHL received from the MPA. To recall, the group awarded DG Barba in 2021 with the “Site-blocking in Asia Pacific – Government Leadership Award” for the Office’s efforts to implement site-blocking at the forefront of its fight against piracy.
For his part, DG Barba said the new rules, set to be effective in January 2024, is the latest proof of the collective efforts of IPOPHL, the NTC, ISPs and anti-piracy advocates in supporting artists to flourish and continue being inspired to create works that shape cultures and boost economies.
“As readers, consumers, and members of our society, we have the power to shape the narrative. By choosing to support genuine works, by rejecting piracy in all its forms and by spreading awareness about its detrimental effects, we can collectively make a difference,” Barba said.
Barba also expressed his gratitude to the MPA, which became an official partner to IPOPHL in 2022. Since then, the MPA has been building up IPOPHL’s capacity to develop an effective piracy monitoring system, which will be crucial in successfully implementing the site-blocking measure.
The MPA is a trade association representing the five major film studios of the United States — namely, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros. Discovery — as well as the video streaming service Netflix.