SENATE APPROVES ANTI-DIGITAL PIRACY BILL

Manila, June 5, 2003 -- The Senate committee on public information and the 
mass media, chaired by Senator Teresa Aquino-Oreta, has approved the 
Optical Media bill.

This measure, Senate Bill No 2586 or "An Act regulating Optical Media and 
providing penalties therefore and for other purposes", aims to check 
unbridled digital piracy in the film, music and business software 
industries but at the same advance the interests of consumers.

Besides Oreta, Senate President Pro Tempore Juan Flavier and 15 more 
senators signed the committee report.

"The committee on public information and mass media hopes that this 
measure, in its final form, will be an effective tool in protecting the 
creative works of our artists and professionals from digital piracy," Oreta 
said Tuesday.

She added, "This measure not only aims to ensure the survival of our film, 
music and software sectors but also to look after workers and their 
families who dependent on these industries."

Oreta pointed out that SB 2586 aims "not only to rescue local industries 
from the ill effects of unbridled digital piracy but also to safeguard the 
interests of over a million workers and their dependents who are in danger 
of losing their main source of incomes to this scourge."

She noted that the entertainment and software sectors have suffered heavy 
losses due to the absence of adequate safeguards and tough measures against 
the abuse of digital technology, which allows intellectual property 
pirates, with no overhead costs to think of, to churn out illegal CDs, 
DVDs, VCDs and CD-ROMs that are openly sold for a fraction of the original 
works.

Pirated CDs, for instance, cost as low as three discs for 100 pesos, DVDs 
for only 65 to 100 pesos and VCDs for less than 50 pesos. Even bootleg 
copies of business software CDs are sold for as low as P100 each.

According to the senator, this P7 billion underground enterprise of 
illegally replicating and selling pirated copies of copyrighted works will 
be effectively curbed through the swift approval of the proposed optical 
media law, which imposes stringent regulations on the licensing, copying 
and distribution of optical media such as DVDs, CDs and VCDs, DVD-ROMs, 
CD-ROMs, CD recordables and CD rewritables. 

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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