One netizen drives surge in IPOPHL’s H1 piracy reports

Counterfeit and piracy reports spiked by nearly four times in the first half of 2023 with a single netizen — a suspected avid gamer — fueling the surge.

Data from the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) show that the Office received a total of 200 reports in January to June this year from 52 in the same period in 2022.

Piracy concerns totaled 152, accounting for around 76% of the reports and booking an increase from only nine reports in the first half last year.

“The spike in piracy reports is as interesting as what — or who — drove them,” Deputy Director General Ann Claire C. Cabochan said at IPOPHL’s contract signing with its new Anti-Piracy Ambassador, Matteo Guidicelli, last Thursday.

She revealed that 135 or 89% of the total piracy reports were filed by a single netizen – 133 in January alone and two others in the succeeding months. The reports showed the netizen was taking a hard line on pirated gaming software, hinting at possibly being an avid gamer.

This explains why software accounted for 145 or 95% of piracy reports, followed by shows and movies (6) and books and ebooks (1).

“Such sheer will to combat piracy gives IPOPHL hope that we have individual allies out there who want to set things right. It also gives us hope to see the impact of what one person can do. Imagine what we in this room can do together,” Cabochan said, addressing IPOPHL’s newest anti-piracy partners and media friends.

Meanwhile, counterfeiting reports grew 9% year-on-year to 48, driven by apparel (35); perfume and beauty products (9); and other accessories (2).

Of the cumulative piracy and counterfeiting reports during the period, about 91% dealt with infringing activities online. Some 69% cited Lazada; 20%, Facebook; 7%, Shopee; 2%, a collective of non-mainstream websites; and 1%, Instagram as the key channels used by infringers.

Rights holders reminded: ‘Take action to see action’

IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba commended concerned netizens for taking voluntary initiatives to weed out piracy and counterfeiting posts and activities. But he also reiterated the call for IP rights holders to enforce their IP rights more actively.

“Take-downs, seizures and other administrative, civil and criminal remedies could only be deployed at the request of legitimate IP rights holders. IP rights holders would see more concrete action against violators if they also take more action,” Barba said.

Barba added that the E-Commerce Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which IPOPHL helps oversee, is being enhanced and expanded with more key players of the digital ecosystem after it marked its second successful year.

The E-Commerce MOU, now with 27 members that include the country’s top ecommerce platforms, Lazada, Shopee and Zalora, aims to create streamlined coordination between them and brand owners and pick up pace in disrupting piracy and counterfeiting on platforms which are at the thick of the fight.

This week, IPOPHL also revealed Guidicelli as the newest face of its anti-piracy campaign, saying the addition of the multi-awarded artist, tri-athlete and military reservist could bridge IPOPHL’s anti-piracy message to a larger audience.

“We are optimistic that Matteo’s charm and credibility can give our anti-piracy push a big boost, effectively promoting a culture of respect for the intellectual property rights of other people and even bring more to heed our call and be anti-piracy advocates themselves,” Barba added. (Janina C. Lim, Information Officer III/IPOPHL)