Video Piracy: A Serious Problem in the Philippines

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Intellectual property and piracy is not just a U.S problem but also very much a problem in the Philippines. The Philippine government lost about $25 million in tax revenues the other year while $116 million of estimated losses occurred to U.S. firms in this market due to piracy ranging from books to software, CDÂ?s... and DVDÂ?s.

Intellectual property and piracy is not just a U.S problem but also very much a problem in the Philippines. The Philippine government lost about $25 million in tax revenues the other year while $116 million of estimated losses occurred to U.S. firms in this market due to piracy ranging from books to software, CD’s... and DVD’s.

Filipino artists, entrepreneurs and inventors were also being robbed by these pirates and piracy. The Philippine Administration was also being deprived of very valuable and needed tax revenues, which could have built houses for the poor.

The reality is people cannot afford to go to movie houses anymore. They rather buy pirated VCDs or DVDs and watch it from the comfort of their living rooms. Take for instance the movie “Lord of the Rings: Two Towers.” This film could be available for about a hundred pesos in the stores and the ticket price in the theaters is higher than the bootleg DVD.

The pirates have made not just profits but problems for the local government, honest producers and most importantly the values of the youth-- telling them that theft is okay.

Although there have been many raids made by the law-enforcement agencies in large warehouses and even the streets, video pirates have developed another method to continue their theft. Sellers of pirated videos keep their discs about a block or two away from where they sell them, only the easily replaced DVD cases are confiscated.

Furthermore, one can easily buy a DVD burner from stores, forgoing the need of maintaining a factory to make illegal copies. All it takes is a good scanner, lots of paper, a fast computer, a robust DVD burner and lots of patience.

So how do we stop video piracy? Laws are a good step. The Optical Disc Law goes to the roots of addressing violations in the production of DVD’s and optical videodiscs.

The most important step though could be meaningful enforcement. Great laws in the books cannot offset weak or non-existent enforcement. Many are hoping that these video pirates can be brought to face the full fury of the law.

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Salve Mordeno