Why protect the intellectual property rights? As seen from the software industry profile presented earlier, there seem to be an inverse relationship between the software piracy rates and the new investments in the industry. The same was observed in the analysis of the movie and recording industries. And from the literatures studying piracy and foreign direct investments, the same conclusion has been attained. Foreign direct investments increase as piracy rates decrease, or put in a different light, FDI also depends on the level of protection on IPR.
Findings in a study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2003 showed that a 10-point reduction in software piracy results in: 1) acceleration in the IT sector growths, 2) creation of new employment and higher tax revenues to the government, 3) countries with higher piracy rates obtain larger benefits from piracy reduction, and 4) a 10-point reduction in piracy is achievable as nearly two-thirds of countries studied have done it once.
The same impression may be derived from IPR infringement or piracy reductions in other industries. As in the movie and recording industries, curtailing piracy would create additional movies, productions, and recording albums in the industries. More economic activities would translate to more opportunities, jobs, and greater output. Further, additional tax revenues for the government would also be earned.
A lot of industries, like the manufacturing, biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical, are also IPR based. Depending on the importance of the industry to the over-all economy, an improvement in these business sectors would significantly help in the development of the macroeconomy. And one of the avenues by which the government can help these industries achieve development is by intensifying the protection of IPR.
The Philippine government has been a staunch supporter of intellectual property rights. IPR protection has been a state policy as provided by the Constitution; and more legislation have been put in place in order to adapt to the changing environment in the IPR system. The E-commerce Act has provisions to address copyright infringement in the internet, while the Optical Media Bill was ratified to tackle optical disc piracy. The country has also joined international treaties and agreements in support of IPR.
The government and the private sectors in the Philippines are actively participating in IPR related endeavors. In 2003 alone, the Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Coalition had conducted several activities regarding IPR advocacy and information dissemination. Meanwhile, the government enforcement agencies have continuously conducted monitoring and apprehension activities against IPR infringers. They have also been developing their human resources through the conduct of seminars and trainings on IPR issues and concerns.
However, a lot still needs to be done in order to curtail piracy and other IPR violations in the country. One of the downside in the Philippine case, with regards to IPR, is the prevailing social acceptance of IPR infringements. Hence, efforts must also be geared toward addressing this concern. Enforcement activities, placement of laws and other IPR endeavors will not be successful if the social aspect of IPR protection will be neglected. Therefore, the legal, economic and social aspects of IPR protection must all be given emphasis to completely safeguard the rights of intellectual property rights holders.
Though the focus of the study is on copyright industries and on piracy, it should be noted that the paper supports all IPR-related industries and advocates for the development of the Philippine intellectual capital/assets. Thus, both the government and society must give emphasis to protecting the rights of our artists, composers, performers, as well as our scientists, inventors, researchers, and other innovators.
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