Downgrading The Country To Priority Watch List

Do not be surprised if the Philippines will be downgraded by the US government to “Priority Watch List” because of the country’s bad intellectual property (IP) protection record. In spite of our being retained in the “Ordinary Watch List” by the US Trade Representative (USTR) in its 2010 Out-of-Cycle Review, an American IP group, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), is insisting that our country must be included among the thirteen (13) countries in the 2011 Priority Watch List; namely, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The IIPA recommended that the Philippines, which has been in the USTR Ordinary Watch List since 2005, should be elevated to the Priority Watch List because copyright piracy phenomena abound, including growing peer-to-peer (P2P) and other Internet and mobile piracy, enterprise end-user software piracy, illegal camcording of movies in theaters, book and journal piracy, retail shop and mall piracy, Pay TV theft and pirate optical discs being imported or produced for export.

What can you say about the above charges by IIPA? Is it true that our enforcement agencies are not doing their job of protecting the intellectual property rights of copyright holders? Your observations on the issue is as good as mine. I am really wondering when can we improve the sixty-nine (69%) software piracy rate in the country. Honestly, the violations by the i-café industry can be higher than that figure.

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