Creative industry assured of efficient royalty collection

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the country’s protector against IP infringements, has assured the creative industry of efficient royalty collections and for players to have greater control over their works.

IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba made this commitment at the launch of the 1st PH Int’l Copyright Summit (PICS) attended by officials in the music industry.

“We will promote efficient royalty collections and we will help local creative economy players attain greater control over their works and save them from being entrapped to restrictive, one-sided contracts,” said Barba.

IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba

He also vowed to intensify copyright education and awareness, coupled with enhancements in the legal framework as the twin strategies to achieve the goals for the copyright holders.

The country’s recent accession to the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (BTAP) and ongoing efforts for greater copyright appreciation including the landmark summit this November, are just two of the concrete efforts IPOPHL is doing.

While the future of the Philippine creative economy has always been bright, Barba said that this can be further enhanced if there is greater understanding and optimization of the copyright system.

Barba cited a WIPO-commissioned study, released in 2014 reported that Philippine copyright-based industries contributed an estimated 7.34 percent to the Philippine GDP in 2010. Copyright-based exports, at 3.06 percent of total exports, exceeded copyright-based imports at 0.81 percent. The same study found that workers in copyright-based industries formed 14.14 percent of all people employed in 2010.

Barba cited the need to update the 10 year old study in collaboration with the DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group.

He said the Bureau of Copyright is working double-time to pave the road to the first PICS in November this year where some 50 local and foreign speakers are expected to grace the occasion.

PICS will discuss the latest trends and challenges in copyright regulations and enforcement, including curbing infringement in the country and helping creators have greater control over their copyright and related rights.

Officials from creative economy companies, associations and pertinent government agencies will unite at the weeklong event, themed “United in Copyright,” to educate the general public of the value of copyright to the struggling sector.

“Scaling up copyright appreciation in the country is very urgent today given that the creative economy was hit the hardest from this pandemic’s quarantine,” Barba said.

According to a July 2020 joint survey of the World Bank, National Economic Development Authority and Department of Finance which assessed the impacts of COVID-19 on Philippine businesses, the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector saw the highest business closures at 82 percent –– with 61 percent temporarily shut while 21 percent permanently closed due to the enhanced community quarantine.

The conduct of the PICS this year is also timely given that the United Nations has declared 2021 as the International Year of the Creative Economy, “a year for recovery and building back stronger, with greater inclusivity,” IPOPHL Deputy Director General (DDG) Nelson P. Laluces said.

“Through this PICS, we hope we can capacitate more creators to best protect their works when negotiating licensing agreements and when exporting their works, especially as we push for global competitiveness. In the end, we hope the summit will lead to remarkable success stories that will prove how original or copyrightable works are the backbone of a robust creative industry,” Laluces added.

For his part, IPOPHL DDG Teodoro C. Pascua highlighted IPOPHL’s efforts to prevent online piracy as the Office logged a record-high last year in piracy complaints and reports.

He noted its push to gain authority to IP rights infringing content from the online space.

“Seeing the pressing issue of piracy especially due to a pandemic that has accelerated our digitalization, we have already started working with industry associations, internet service providers and the National Telecommunications Commission to explore how a site-blocking mechanism can take form to provide an effective and fast procedure that is accessible to all,” Pasuca said.

Emerson G. Cuyo, director of IPOPHL’s Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights (BCCR), the lead organizer of the event, said the summit will be holding a range of activities such as dialogues, business matching, online art exhibits, film and animation festival, book fairs and launches, cultural presentations and concerts.

“The activities will not happen only in November. We have prepared activities leading up to the summit in order to promote the landmark event more widely,” said Cuyo.

Delivering the keynote message at the launch was Congressman Christopher V.P. De Venecia who said “much attention must be given to this summit.”

“The bottomline of creativity is intellectual property, specifically copyright. IPOPHL and the BCRR can expect the full support of our office, as well as the many members of the House of Representatives who have been showing their love and support for Filipino creative industries in the past year,” De Venecia said.

Present at the June 7 press launch to express support for the PICS were Noel G. Cabangon, trustee from the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Inc.; Mitch O. Valdes of the Performers’ Rights Society of the Philippines; Maria Jesusa-Viray, founding member of the Board of Directors of Philippine Association for Digital Commerce and Decentralized Industries; Karen Ocampo Flores, president of Filipino Visual Arts and Design Rights Organization; Miguel Matthew Del Mundo, president of the Creative Content Creators' Association of the Philippines; Alvin J. Buenaventura, executive director of the Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc.; and Jenny Wong, regional director of the Asia International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

From the public sector, Book Development Association of the Philippines Chairperson Dante Francis M. Ang II, Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairperson and CEO Mary Liza B. Diño and Korea Copyright Commission Philippine Director Taejin Lee said the PICS is a timely opportunity to enjoin more creative economy and copyright champions.

International partners such as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) will also be supporting the event.