The government educates and informs the Philippine society on issues regarding the Intellectual Property Rights and the IP Code through series of seminars, workshops, trainings, exhibits, and the like. The main government agencies that organize such activities are the DTI and IPO.
An example of such is the trade fair organized by the DTI-CWTRG in 2001. The fair, entitled "Empowering Consumers, Enabling Business", showcased the products of the Philippine Standards (PS) licensee holders, goods for which appropriate patents, trademarks and copyrights have been served, and the manufacturers and services of selected companies duly accredited by appropriate government agencies. Meanwhile, to strengthen government and private partnership in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting, an "Action Planning Workshop to Strengthen Public Appreciation and Enforcement of IPRs" was conducted in the same year by the PIAC-IPR. The workshop came up with "A Resolution and Strategic Action Plan to Strengthen Public Awareness and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. This plan, which was submitted to the Office of the President, was formulated to operate as the master plan that records the programs and activities aimed to curtail piracy and advocate IPR protection in the country.
When the PIAC-IPR was abolished60 in 2002, the IPREAP continued to implement the activities that were formulated in the Strategic Action Plan. Hence, during the IPR week in October of 2002, the IPO (the main coordinating body of the IPREAP) conducted the following:
Exhibit of Filipino Industrial Designs and Creative Utility Models with the theme: “Bilog at Parisukat, Disenyong Nakakagulat: Isang Kalipunan ng mga Original na Disenyong Gawang Pinoy” held at the IPO Building Lobby, Makati City;
On-the-Spot painting contest for high school students with the theme: “IP in the National Development” held at the 2nd Floor, IPO Building;
2nd Nationwide Essay Writing Contest on Intellectual Property Rights; and
organized the Regional Symposium on Copyright held at the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel on October 24-25, 2002.
The same year, the IPO also sponsored several "Seminars on the IP Code" in Regions CAR, I, IV, VI, VII, and XI.
To further promote awareness on IPR, the Intellectual Property Office, though the IPREAP and the help of the IP Coalition and the IP Alliance of Cebu City, conducted the “IP Campaign Caravan 2003”. The activity was a series of roundtable discussions on Intellectual Property Rights and the various projects of IPREAP that were held in major key cities in the country, namely: Iloilo, Cebu, Baguio, Naga, Metro Manila, and Davao City. Attendees of the seminars were local government officials, representatives from government enforcement agencies, business organizations, and Intellectual Property (IP) stakeholders.
The projects of IP-REAP discussed during the roundtable discussions were:
Local Government Unit (LGU) Template Ordinance, a legislation that seeks to address problems in IPR infringements by curtailing the sale, rental, transfer and distribution of pirated, counterfeit or fake goods, articles and services within the local government’s territorial jurisdiction;
IP Seal and Education Campaign,
Communication Plan, and
Optical Media Bill (OMB).
The campaign resulted to the passage and adoption of LGU anti-piracy ordinance in Naga City, the first Intellectual Property (IP) friendly city in the country. Meanwhile, the city government of Iloilo also issued an anti-piracy local government ordinance to restrain the sale, rental, production and manufacture of counterfeit and fake goods in the local market. The anti-piracy ordinances require that all business licenses and permits issued by the City/Municipal governments to carry the express condition that the licensee(s) will not engage in the sale, rental, transfer, distribution, manufacture and/or production of pirated counterfeit or fake goods, articles or services. The creation of the ordinances was a step towards the local government’s active participation in the fight against IPR infringements. These local laws are expected to promote a better business environment for the manufacture, production and trade of legitimate IPR-based goods and commodities.
Another important outcome of the campaign was the endorsement of the Department of Interior and Local Government for intellectual property rights protection. The Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2003-229 issued last December 8, 2003, was a product of the Metro Manila seminar on IPR. This MC endorses the anti-piracy LGU ordinance and enjoins all LGUs in the country to help enforce IPR protection.
The government is not the only sector that responded to the problems brought about by the widespread piracy. Feeling the need for IPR protection, the private sector bonded and gathered to form the Intellectual Property Coalition (IPC). The coalition is composed by organizations of IP stake-holders namely61:
COMPACT, an association founded in 1987 to safeguard intellectual property rights.
Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (FILSCAP) which represents a number of individuals and companies in the music and publishing industries;
Philippine Association of the Recording Industry Inc. (PARI) which represents most of the music recording companies in the country;
AVIDPHIL, the organization of legitimate videogram distributors in the country;
Business Software Alliance, representing the major foreign business software companies;
Asosasyon ng Musikong Pilipino Foundation which is comprised by music performers;
Brand Protection Association, an organization of companies working for the protection of their trademarks and other intellectual properties;
MPDAP, the Motion Picture Distribution Association of the Philippines;
KATHA, an association of Filipino composers; and
The Quezon City Chamber of Commerce and Industry which is an association of businessmen, SMEs and entrepreneurs in Quezon City;
American Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and
The IPC has geared its activities towards the fulfillment of the following objectives62:
To provide a forum of discussion of intellectual property and related issues between and among industry circles and the public in general;
To formulate and adopt a strategic action plan that will identify the problems and issues affecting and afflicting intellectual property rights, and propose solutions and remedial measures therefor;
To participate in all processes and discussions, whether executive or legislative, that are called or designed to generate or formulate government policy on all matters affecting intellectual property;
To inform the general public of the pernicious effects of infringement of intellectual property rights by organizing mass media campaigns;
To liaise with government agencies on any or all matters that concern intellectual property rights;
To serve as a private sector watchdog to monitor the implementation of laws, rules and regulations for the protection of IPR by relevant government agencies; to condemn, criticize and expose ineptitude and corruption; to commend, reward and recognize exemplary performance and dedication to duty; and,
To lend support and assistance to private and government initiatives that will enhance the protection and promotion of IPR.
The IPC also promotes IPR protection and educate/update the public of IPR issues by participating and providing television and print interviews. In these activities, the coalition also tries to convey the significance of legislation in the fight against piracy. With this objective, the coalition adopted some of the programs in the Strategic Action Plan and conducted activities that support the immediate passage of the OMB into a law.
The coalition has conducted OMB advocacy activities in 2003, such as:
visiting the Philippine senators to discuss the provisions of the bill, and accordingly ask for their support for the passage of the proposed law. This was held last May of 2003;
participating in the public hearings and consultative meetings conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media regarding the OMB; and
releasing an advertorial or public statement for the immediate passage of the bill, entitled, “A Plea For Action” that was published in one of the major Philippine dailies last June 3, 2003.
The IPC had been successful in this endeavor, for the Optical Media Act was ratified in February 2004.
As part of the Strategic Action Plan, the IPC also spearheaded the communications plan called “Project Jump”. This project63, which was formulated with the assistance of the Ad Foundation of the Philippines, aims to disseminate information regarding proper IP values and generate public support for Intellectual Property Rights. The main objective of the plan is to make piracy socially unacceptable. The multi-pronged strategy will be supported by a multi-media campaign aimed at the AB and C income households with emphasis on youths ages 13 to 30. The media mix plans to involve all Free TV stations plus HBO, MTV and other cable movie and music channels. The radio, meanwhile, will cover the urban FM stations. Advertisements and cinema placements at major malls are also being considered. The plan is being targeted to take-off in 2004.
The private sector's activities also involve advocacy, information dissemination and educating the public of the negative social and economic effects of this IPR infringement. Example of such endeavor was the "Rock Against Piracy" concert conducted early last 2002. This was participated by various local artists, small and famous, who voiced out their opposition against piracy.
Meanwhile, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) Philippines64, a non-profit international organization that promotes the use of legal software, launched an anti-piracy campaign entitled “Assistance in Software Auditing Program (ASAP)” in 2001. According to the BSA, ASAP aimed to help companies “conduct software audit in order to adopt proper software management and be able to legalize if there is a need to do so.” Once qualified, the company will be given by the BSA a Certificate of Clean Bill of Software Health that guarantees a one-year grace period from legal actions initiated by members of the BSA. In 2002, the BSA conducted the ASAP 2 Campaign.
The BSA has also established an Anti-Piracy Hotline in Metro Manila, wherein the public can report software piracy occurrences and inquire on issues regarding software compliance and licensing. BSA reported that the anti-piracy hotline “receives a large number of calls from individuals providing leads on organizations that are either using or distributing pirated software”. As an incentive, the BSA provides a “reward of up to P1 million to anyone who calls the anti-piracy hotline and able to provide information leading to a successful enforcement action against a corporate end-user.” As a support activity to the hotline, the organization also launched an as campaign called “Speak up. Don’t cover up”, wherein the anti-piracy hotline numbers of the BSA are advertised.
In addition, the Philippine Network Gaming Alliance (PNGA) also published an anti-piracy advertisement in the newspapers in March 2003. This informed the public of the consequences of using pirated entertainment software products. The ad aimed to instill in the consumers’ minds that “piracy of PC games is a serious crime,” and the “consequence to offenders are very serious.” Information on the length of imprisonment and the amount of fines that infringers would serve and pay are included in the advertisement.
However, though efforts are being exerted (by both the government and private sectors) in combating IPR infringements, more legislation and financial support for better enforcement of the IP laws are needed to have an efficient and effective IP protection. Though the state of piracy in the country seems to respond to the on-going endeavors, greater results could have been acquired if not for these limitations the government and the private sector face.