Registering I-Café’s Hard Disks With OMB

Internet cafés (i-cafés) in the Philippines will soon be required to register their hard disk drives with the Optical Media Board (OMB) if the agency’s Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Executive Director’s Office Atty. Cyrus Paul S. Valenzuela would have his way. This was revealed  by Atty. Valenzuela when he said that he is preparing an executive order (EO) a memorandum circular (MC) which he based on OMB’s mandate under Republic Act No. 9239 or the Optical Media Act of 2003. He made the statement during the writeshop on the preparation of the final implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9775 otherwise known as Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 which was held at One Tagaytay Place Residences & Hotel Suites last April 15 and 16, 2010.

OIC Valenzuela contends that the hard disk drive of a computer in an i-cafés is among the magnetic media which RA 9239 defined as storage medium or device characterized by a base, usually plastic, coated with ferric oxide powder, in which visual and/or aural information, or software code, may be recorded or stored, including, but not limited to, magnetic tape, cassettes, video tape, diskettes, and floppy discs and hence subject to regulation by the OMB. If implemented, the executive order memorandum circular would require i-café owners to register the hard disks being used in their computer in line with the state’s objective to institute the means to regulate the manufacture, mastering, replication, importation and exportation of optical media.

When the EO MC is done, hard disk will be the second item or device that OMB would require i-café owners to register with them before they can be used in their businesses. Already included in the IRR of the Optical Media Act of 2003 is the registration of optical media writers (CD and DVD writers) to be used by i-cafés in duplicating legally reproducible data, video and audio materials.

For those using CD and DVD writers in their i-café business, the registration of the devices with OMB is already a big hassle because it has to be done only at their current office in Quezon City, Metro-Manila. I wonder how the registration of the hard disk would be done? My other question is will the executive order memorandum circular require only the i-cafés to register their hard disks? How about the other businesses and offices that also use computers with hard disks in them?

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