Television

Calls for firmer IP laws featured in IPO seminar

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MUMBAI:In a bid to broaden the effectiveness of government when dealing with intellectual property rights (IPR) cases involving the Philippines cable and satellite TV industry, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa), with support from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Philippine Cable TV Association (PCTA), recently staged a high level legal training seminar in Makati City.

The seminar, specifically designed to support IPO and NTC officers, brought together pay-TV industry experts, including cable operators, content creators and program distributors, along with IPR experts from law firm Quisumbing Torres, states an official release.

Participants from both the government and the private sector highlighted the importance of building strong IPR protection to spur industry growth and boost its contribution to national progress.

“This is the first of a series of seminars that IP Philippines will undertake in partnership with the NTC and the pay-TV industry through Casbaa and the PCTA. The objective is to advance our common goal of curbing IP violations,” said IP Philippines deputy director General Pacifico Avenido.

The training session came on the heels of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the IPO and the NTC, which transfers the investigation and resolution of pay-TV industry IP cases to the IPO.

“As soon as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the MoA are approved, the cases pending at the NTC will be transferred to the IPO”, said Avenido.

“Thus, there’s an urgent need for our Bureau of Legal Affairs hearing lawyers to be trained comprehensively on pay-TV industry IP issues and the technical processes in broadcasting relevant to understanding the issues.”

Meanwhile, John Medeiros, the Casbaa VP for Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs, expressed industry appreciation for the government’s efforts to address the worsening problem of pay-TV piracy.

“We thank the IPO and the NTC for co-sponsoring this seminar, a truly positive step that demonstrates the value of cooperation between the government and the pay-TV industry,” said Mr Medeiros.

PCTA president Allan Dungao echoed Casbaa’s call for the government of the Philippines to fortify the industry’s anti-piracy cause.

“Industry estimates place pay-TV signal theft losses at billions of pesos. With the support of the NTC, the IPO, the different legislative bodies and local government units, laws and ordinances have been passed rendering signal theft a crime punishable with imprisonment. More intervention through further government legislation is required, particularly in addressing program piracy in the Philippines,” said Mr Dungao.

Star TV Philippines VP, Liza Latinazo, with Tim Bautista, the COO of pay-TV channel distributor Cable Boss, joined Mr. Dungao on a panel of industry speakers during the training.

As a follow-up, the IPO, NTC, Casbaa and the PCTA are planning a follow-up IP law seminar open to industry and public sector groups in October as part of the IPO’s IP Protect educational lecture series, adds the release.

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