A New Bill in the Philippines Could Put ISPs Out of Business Should They Fail To Block Access to Pirating Sites

The Philippines government won’t tolerate piracy of any kind.

The Philippines isn’t exactly known for safeguarding copyright owners’ legitimate works.

That could soon change, however.

According to a new report, Senator Vicente ‘Toto’ Castello III has introduced a bill to tackle the problem of rampant online piracy in the country.

The bill reads,

The Philippines is, unfortunately, one of the countries described by Internet pirates as ‘safe’ for uploading, downloading, linking, torrenting, and stream infringing content without fear of prosecution.  The Philippines continues to be a haven for cybercriminals who illegally make content available on the Internet.

Underscoring a victory against a major pirating website in the country, Castello continues,

Years ago, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) was able to disrupt the notorious pirate torrent site, KickAssTorrents (kat.ph), by seizing the .ph domain – the country’s code domain.”

Yet, that victory didn’t last long.

However, these prolific pirates simply changed their domain to that of another country – to .to for Tonga or .so for Somalia.

If passed, the bill would “empower” the Philippines’ Intellectual Property Office.  It would force local internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure “reasonable steps [are taken] to disable access to sites whenever these sites are reported to be infringing copyright or facilitating copyright infringement.”

Rightsholders would first file a complaint against infringing sites with the IPO.  The IPO would then consider the complaint.  These include the “flagrancy” of the websites, whether website owners demonstrate clear “disregard” for the copyright, whether other locations have blocked this site, and if ISPs should block the site in the entire country.

The IPO would have 15 days to generate and distribute a report to the rightsholder.  The bill would establish a Review Committee, which would consider the case.  Should the committee agree with the IPO, it would send a Notice of Approval within 10 days.  Five days later, the IPO would provide an order forcing ISPs to take “reasonable steps” to disable access to the “infringing online location.”

ISPs can file an objection should they disagree with the IPO’s report.  Yet, refusing to comply with the order would lead to legal repercussions.

The bill explains,

If the recommendation of the IPO to cancel the license of the ISP is proper and meritorious, the Commission shall facilitate the prompt cancellation of the license of the ISP.

You can view the bill below.


Featured image by Roger Gregory (CC by 2.0).