Facebook, Shopee top online piracy complaints – IPOPHL

Facebook remained as the online platform with the most number of intellectual property-related complaints followed by Shopee, Instagram, and Lazada in the first half this year, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) reported.

IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) reported that online space remained to be the leading source of IP violations, accounting for 75 percent of the overall reports and complaints.

Year-to-date, IPOPHL said Facebook still topped this list, making up for a total of 65.8 percent of the overall filings. This was followed by other websites (13.2%); Shopee (9.2%); Instagram (6.6%); and Lazada (5.3%).

But IPOPHL noted that IP violations declined by 48 percent in the first semester this year versus same period last year.

IPOPHL reported that it received a total of 56 reports and complaints on counterfeiting and piracy in the first half of the year, marking a 48 percent decrease from the 107 recorded reports and complaints in the comparable period of 2021. Reports and complaints reached a total of 53 and 3, respectively.

Counterfeiting accounted for 53 or 95 percent of the total reports and complaints received by IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO).

Apparel (shoes, clothes, bags and eyewear) remains to be the most counterfeited category with a 65.9% share in reports and complaints. Apparel is followed by perfume and beauty products (9.1%); gadgets (6.8%); home items (6.8%); and other items such as keychains and umbrellas (4.5%).

For piracy, shows and movies were the top area of concern among complaints and reports, making up 44.4 percent. This was followed by artworks and paintings (22.2%); general eBooks (22.2%); and software (11.1%).

Considering that awareness campaigns and capacity sessions on Respect for IP are continuous, IEO Officer-in-Charge Ann N. Edillon associates the decrease in complaints and reports to the possible decline of incidences of counterfeiting and piracy during the period.

“Mechanisms in place are working. For example, e-commerce platforms have become stricter as required by the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between brand owners and e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee,” said Edillon, referring to the MOU which IPOPHL helped facilitate in 2021 to push for stronger notice-and-takedown procedures among platforms.

“We also recognize that brand-owners have been more knowledgeable of their rights and how they can utilize the complaints mechanisms of platforms,” Edillon added.

While netizens continued to be the primary reporters of counterfeiting and piracy activities with a 64.2 percent contribution, the share of brand and IP rights owners remarkably increased to 18.9 percent versus last year.

“This sustained IP enforcement support we have been receiving for the past years is a reflection of the empowerment of our netizens and the concerned public through our IP rights awareness campaigns. More and more brand and IP owners have also been coming forward to voice their concerns about protecting their rights. This is the type of proactive IP rights protection that we hope to foster as we begin to see effects of the rebuilding economy,” IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said.

“Despite this decline, we cannot deny that the IP rights enforcement is also now a battle fought online. We further encourage the netizens and IP rights holders to continue being vigilant and maximize the IP protection features on sites where they observe any counterfeiting and piracy activities. If the online features cannot address the IP rights holder’s concerns, IEO welcomes formal complaints that can be filed at IPOPHL for assessment,” said Edillon.