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Cablegate: Philippines Ipr to Address Flicker Piracy

VZCZCXRO4361
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1975/01 2330216
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200216Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1648
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001975

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/EP, AND EEB/TPP/IPE
STATE PASS USTR FOR BWEISEL, RBAE AND KEHLERS
STATE ALSO PASS USAID, OPIC
TREASURY FOR OASIA
USDOC FOR 4430/ITA/MAC
USDOC PASS USPTO
BANGKOK FOR FCS JENNIFER NESS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECON RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES IPR TO ADDRESS FLICKER PIRACY

REF: Manila 497

1. (U) Summary: Illegal recording of movies in cinemas, known as
"flicker piracy," is becoming an intellectual property rights
concern for both local and foreign film industry players in the
Philippines. Specific legislation to address the problem is in the
Lower House of the Philippine legislature, but not yet in the
Senate. A new Manila City ordinance against flicker piracy is a
stopgap measure. End Summary.

Flicker Piracy in Metro Manila
-------------------------------

2. (U) Flicker piracy is becoming a serious concern to foreign and
local film industry players in the Philippines. Flicker piracy, the
illegal recording of movies while being shown in cinemas using video
recording gadgets such as a mobile phones or more sophisticated
camera equipment, is a violation of intellectual property rights.
According to the Philippine Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council,
the film industry in the country could generate about 7 billion
pesos annually nationwide without film piracy, but with increased
film piracy in the past two years, revenues from theater ticket
sales of local as well as foreign films only reached about 4 billion
pesos annually. Pirates have reportedly targeted Manila for flicker
piracy since first run films are shown in English here without
dubbing or subtitles. As a result, pirates get a "clean copy" of
the film which they can then subtitle or dub as they please.

Caught Watching "Wanted"
-------------------------

3. (U) Local enforcement agents of the National Bureau of
Investigation arrested and charged two men caught illegally taking a
video of Angelina Jolie's film "Wanted," while being shown inside a
movie house in an SM Mall in Quezon City. The two suspects were
discreetly using MP4 recorders to copy the film. When the local
enforcement officers asked the suspects to show permission to record
the movie, the two failed to do so. The Quezon City Prosecutor's
Office charged suspects with violating Section 217.1 (on copyright
infringement) of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.


Need for an Enabling Law for Flicker Piracy
-------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Local IP stakeholders and practitioners such as the
Philippine Motion Picture Film Anti-Piracy Council, as well as the
Optical Media Board share the view that there is no precise law
against flicker piracy and the IP Code as it stands may not be
sufficient. Hence, both local and foreign IP stakeholders are
advocating a law that would detail firm penalties for this IPR
violation.

5. (SBU) The Optical Media Board, according to its Chairman,
Eduardo Manzano, is looking at the possibility of amending the
Optical Media Act to expand its scope, which is now limited to
regulation and licensing of optical media for protecting and
promoting intellectual property rights (reftel). He noted that
given advances in technology, optical media may be obsolete in a few
years.

Proposed Legislation in Congress
---------------------------------

6. (U) Representative Irwin Tieng filed an anti-piracy bill known
as the Anti-Camcording Bill (House Bill 4117). This bill aims to
prohibit and penalize the unauthorized possession, use and/or
control of audiovisual recording devices for the unauthorized
recording of cinematographic films, other audiovisual works and/or
their soundtracks in public exhibition/ theatrical facilities. It
defines such unauthorized acts as contrary to the public interest,
economic growth, and the intellectual property rights of the owners
of cinematographic films, audiovisual works and/or soundtracks. In
a recent meeting with Economic Officers, a staffer of the House
Committee on Public Information confirmed that the proposed
Anti-Camcording Act is currently in the committee, but is not
considered priority legislation.

7. (SBU) As yet there is not a counterpart bill in the Senate. In
a meeting with Economic Officers, Matthew Cheetham of the Motion
Picture Association International said that they are looking for

MANILA 00001975 002 OF 002


Senators to file a similar bill.

City Ordinance: A Stop Gap Measure
-----------------------------------

8. (U) On July 8, the City Council of Manila passed the Film
Protection Ordinance of Manila which penalizes the use, possession
and/or control of audio-visual recording devices for the
unauthorized recording of cinematographic films and other
audio-visual works and/or their soundtrack in cinemas or other
exhibition facilities. Penalties for violation of the ordinance
include imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to 5,000.00
pesos. Manila is the first municipality in the Philippines to enact
such a measure. Members of the local film and movie industry, such
as the Film Academy of the Philippines applauded this as a stopgap
measure to combat flicker piracy.

9. (U) Comment: It is good to see the local film industry actively
fighting for intellectual property rights in the Philippines. While
the current IP Code is the basis for arrests for flicker piracy,
industry stakeholders hope that new legislation will specifically
address this violation. In the meantime, city ordinances such as
the Film Protection Ordinance could serve as stop-gap measures.

Kenney

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