Hot on Spot: 10 Crazy Details About The Intellectual Property Code Amendments
An article by journalist Raissa Robles whips up the necessary frenzy over this alarming development.
(SPOT.ph) In a country where copying is done all the time, it’s almost shocking to know that we actually have such a a thing as The Intellectual Property Code or Republic Act No. 8293. On February 14, 2013, journalist Raissa Robles-who writes for the South China Morning Post and whose blog appears on ABS-CBNNews.com-posted her article, "Congress erased every Filipino's right to bring home music, movies and books from abroad." In it, she pointed out: "Congress has just passed a law erasing this right. The law-a consolidated measure amending R.A. No. 8293, was sent to Malacañang Palace on January 29, 2013 and just needs the signature of President Benigno Aquino III to become effective."
That said, we’ve listed 10 interesting, nutty details about the amendments.
Note: RAISSA ROBLES wrote a series of articles about The IP Code amendments. She broke the story on the subject. You may access them at her website, RaissaRobles.com. Her column, Raissa Robles: Inside Philippine Politics and Beyond, also appears on ABS-CBNNews.com. The main source of information for this article are Robles’ IP Code series.
Very unlikely IP Code champion. My, my, my...look who we have here.
1. Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III wanted in on the action. Robles presented a document detailing the legislative history of the so-called amendments. The amendments are all contained in Senate Bill No. 2842 or "An Act Amending Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 8293, Otherwise Known as ’The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines,’ and for Other Purposes." Anyway, the document recorded all the movements of the law-with Senator Manny Villar identified as the law’s sponsor. The shocker is the fact that on December 7, 2011, Sotto manifested his intention to be the co-author of the law. Now, isn’t that ironic?
2. There were 17 senators who gave it a thumbs up. On November 5, 2012, the law was approved on third reading. The following senators-17 of them-were listed as "in favor" of the law: Sen. Ed Angara, Sen. Joker Arroyo, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago. Sen. Franklin Drilon, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Sen. Gringo Honasan, Sen. Ping Lacson, Sen. Lito Lapid, Sen. Sergio Osmeña, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Sen. Koko Pimentel, Sen. Ralph Recto, Sen. Bong Revilla, Sen. Tito Sotto, and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. Now, this would be a good thing if it weren’t for some baffling implications.
Jailbreak vs. prison break. The amendment that may spell doom for your desire for alterations.
3. Jailbreakers may go to jail. A collective groan was heard when Robles simplified one of the addendums to the IP Code: Section 171.12. (See screenshot of full segment text above.) Robles’ interpretation was that the said section forbids people from altering their own electronic devices. In other words, if you jailbreak a device like, say, your brand new iPhone, you get jailed. As netizens fumed over the nutty points listed in Robles’ February 14 article, IPO Director General Ricardo Blancaflor was featured in an ANC interview (as cited in David Dizon’s ABS-CBNNews.com article) that same day. He pointed out: "Jailbreaking is not a crime. It has never been a crime under the old law or the new law. The bottom line is-you have to have a formal complaint from the person being infringed and of course a finding of infringement. The mere fact that an act was done, I will not even refer to it as jailbreaking, it could be any other form, does not mean it is a crime already. If at all there is a finding to that effect, it will only be an aggravating circumstance but the main element of the crime which is infringing has to be proven first." However, Robles, in a February 15 article, pointed out that Blancaflor’s statement was problematic, as her resource person, Prof. JJ Disini asserted, "My understanding is, that was the intention of the law. To prohibit it. When you circumvent technological measure, the purpose is to get access to the work in order to modify it. Why would you jailbreak something? You defeat the protection in order to change the code to make the device do other things. Modifications are an infringement of copyright." Robles mused that, perhaps, the law should have clearer wording on the subject, as it had been given opposite interpretations by Blancaflor and Disini.
Yesterday, all this trouble seemed so far away. This is the old segment, before the amendment.
4. The balikbayan bunch can’t buy much. According to Robles, it’s all because of the removal of this phrase: "personal use." The amendment removed the segments which granted balikbayans or tourists the right to bring in DVDs, CDs, and books into the country without getting stopped at the airport and getting into trouble with the Bureau of Customs. (See screenshot of full segment text above.) The current version-due to the deletion of Sections 190.1 and 190.2-has become so confusing that it’s bound to cause some arguments at the airport. (See screenshot of full segment text below.)
Say, what!? It’s so confusing that you may fall asleep before you’re even halfway through reading it. Our summary: "Basta, bawal na." We saw the words "prohibited" and "Customs" and we tapped out.
5. You’re obliged to be your brother’s keeper. To illustrate just how nutty the law is, Robles cites this example: "If you happen to be leasing out space-for instance, if you're a mall or building owner-to someone who infringes copyright, you could be held liable." (See screenshot below.) That’s all thanks to the amended Section 216.
We’re all in this together. You’re going to get in trouble by mere association.