Singapore/Manila - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed the Anti-Camcording Act, thereby passing it into law and intensifying the fight against movie piracy in the country. Considered a milestone legislation piece not only in the Philippines but also in South East Asia, the Anti-Camcording Law aims to help curb illegal camcording activities in the country and in the Asian region.
Under the Anti-Camcording Law, any person who is caught using or attempting to use an audiovisual recording device to transmit or make a copy of any part of a performance in an exhibition facility of any cinematographic film or other audiovisual work will be charged with a fine of PhP 50,000 to PhP 750, 000 (US$1,000-US$17,000) and will face imprisonment of a minimum of six months and one day to six years and one day.
"We congratulate the Philippine government in this milestone victory in the country's fight against movie piracy and its renewed commitment to join its Asian counterparts in protecting content and tackling copyright theft by going after the source with a strong anti-camcording law," said Mike Ellis, President and Managing Director for Asia Pacific of the Motion Picture Association (MPA). "Enforcement authorities in the Philippines can get down to the business of clamping down on the serious problem of camcord piracy like their counterparts in Japan and Hong Kong have done so effectively."
Introduced by House Representative Irwin Tieng and sponsored by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Mar Roxas, the new law is expected to greatly benefit the local movie industry, which has suffered staggering losses amounting to lost revenue due to the illegal replication and proliferation of pirated optical discs. Under the new law, the Philippine National Police (PNP) with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB), the National Cinema Association of the Philippines (NCAP) and its member exhibitors will be expected to fully enforce the provisions.
Currently, more than 90% of the pirated copies of newly released movies on the street and on Internet sites originate from illegal copies made in cinemas. Around 9% of global camcords in 2009 have been forensically traced to theatres in the Asia-Pacific.
"Undoubtedly, the Anti-Camcording Act will boost OMB's overall piracy initiatives," said OMB Chief Ronnie Ricketts. "It is about time that we have this law in place to fully implement our anti-piracy programs and operations against illegal camcorders and pirates."
"The recent passage of the Anti-Camcording Law will play a critical role in helping protect the interests of the Philippine movie industry which is still struggling from huge losses due to piracy. Through this law, we are also counting on the help of other industry players to reinvigorate the industry and eventually, creating more business and employment opportunities for all the members of the industry," said Engr. Ric Camaligan, President of the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council.
Industry groups, including international exhibitors and cinema associations that ensure that local movie-going public enjoys the best cinema entertainment experience, likewise, expressed their full support for the new law.
"The National Cinema Association of the Philippines welcomes the passage of the Anti-Camcording Law and will fully support its implementation. The new law will further boost our fight against movie piracy as illegal camcorders will now be forewarned of the consequence of their illegal activities through the signages to be posted in our cinemas. We would like to thank our lawmakers and all others who supported the passage of the law," said Atty. Rolando Dueñas, External Vice-President of NCAP.
"The passage of the Anti-Camcording Law is a welcome advantage in our battle against film and video piracy," remarked Philippine Motion Pictures Producers Association President Orlando Ilacad. "Piracy has crippled our industry to a point that moist of the players have already stopped their businesses due to losses. This law might be the shot in the arm that we have been waiting for."
The Anti-Camcording Law will be considered effective and in force 15 days from the date of the latest and complete publication made of the Act and its provisions. With strict enforcement of the law's provisions and with the full government and industry support, the Anti-Camcording Law is expected to effectively bolster content protection efforts, not only in the Philippines, but also in the region.