Technology

Laws, education needed to curb piracy in the Philippines

Piracy has long been an issue in the Philippines. Unfortunately, there are no real regulations preventing people from illegally consuming content from the internet. This, explained Globe Telecom Vice President for Content Portfolio & Partner Management Jill Go, is one of the major reasons why online piracy continues to be a problem in the country.

Go revealed that from 2017 to 2018, Globe Telecom experienced a 50 percent increase in terms of online traffic. And 18 percent of that increase can be attributed to the consumption of illegal content — from the use of illicit streaming devices and viewing content via illegal piracy or torrent sites.

“That in itself, if you think about that in terms of petabytes, is already huge. This is theft that’s actually going around unchecked because there’s no regulatory teeth to actually put them behind bars,” Go said during the Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0) Summit.

Neil Gane, General Manager of the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA)’s Coalition Against Piracy, supported this claim when he revealed that 34 percent of Filipino online consumers use an illicit streaming device — a media player that allows viewers to watch pirated movies and television shows for free.

According to Go, the lack of regulations curbing the illegal consumption of content online is the reason why Globe Telecom got into partnerships with content service providers such as Spotify and Netflix. Globe, Go said, can prevent piracy by providing consumers with legal options to consume content. Consumers resort to online piracy because they “feel everything on the internet is free because no one told them otherwise.”

But the existence of legal means to consume online content — from TV shows and movies to music — is not enough to stop piracy.

Go pointed out that even streaming service provider Netflix, for instance, spends “substantial amount of research and development so that they can give you a very good customer proposition.” It also “doubles its content budget every year.” Still, the company is losing money because of piracy. A Techcrunch report earlier this year claims Netflix could be losing up to $192 million in monthly revenue due to piracy.

With its anti-piracy campaign #PlayItRight, Globe Telecom is helping curb the Filipino consumer’s reliance on illegally acquired content.

“Globe Telecom sees it as a responsibility to help shape the regulations in terms of creating rules or laws that can really put into place some teeth in terms of curbing piracy,” Go said.

Earlier this year, Globe Telecom officially announced its support for Senate Bill No. 2109. Also known as the Philippine Online Infringement Act, the bill, once approved, will enable the National Telecommunications Commission to cancel the licenses of internet service providers that allow websites to facilitate the infringement of copyright.

Besides setting up regulation, Go said informing the public about the perils and negative effects of piracy can help prevent it.

“[We are working on] customer awareness in terms of what perils illegal content consumption brings to you, whether it is identity theft, malware, and sorts of security risks,” Go said.

She added: “But it is also bringing to mind the consciousness that you’re actually stealing from the livelihood of countless of individuals behind the creative industry in terms of moviemaking or whether it’s short term or long term. So, if you put a face to theft, for example, maybe the man behind the camera, you begin to actually make it real for customers, that this is a real crime that we’re actually creating.”

Go said Globe Telecom has partnered with private entities such as AVIA and government agencies such as the Optical Media Board and the Film Development Council of the Philippines via its Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino film festival to create more awareness via a video campaign that explains the need for Filipinos to be socially responsible users of the internet.

Globe is also hoping that it can eliminate the consumer’s need to avail content illegally by continuing to give consumers “unprecedented content experience” via its local and foreign content partners.

“[We hope for a] good merger between the regulatory, corporate, and also the partnerships so that we can provide a very good end to end customer experience [and also] put forward a very savvy corporate social responsibility to enforce legal use,”enthuses Go.

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