San Juan councilor pens anti-piracy ordinance

04/14/2008 | GMA News

San Juan City Councilor Dante Santiago wants the drive against piracy of CDs, VCDs, and other similar products to have teeth at the grassroots level.

Under his proposed Ordinance No. 35, even shops found to be in mere possession of pirated products will be fined P2,500 or imprisoned for up to six months, or both, at the discretion of the court.

In other words, the shop does not have to be caught making, reproducing, selling, or renting the pirated items. And city officials need not wait for national government agencies – like the Optical Media Board – to make the first move in going after violators.

“Piracy and counterfeiting of intellectual property rights not only cause economic prejudice and demoralization among the legitimate businessmen and establishments which offer products and services dependent on intellectual property protection, but also undermine the city’s strategy for growth and development and result in unrealized revenues and taxes,” Santiago said in a statement released on Monday.

Santiago said the San Juan “adheres to the policy of the national government to curb the proliferation and introduction into commerce of pirated, counterfeit, or fake goods, articles or services and the commission of other acts that violate intellectual property rights as protected by law.”

He said the state’s policy to enhance the enforcement of intellectual property rights requires the determined and active support of the local government at its grassroots level.

Under the proposed ordinance, first-time offenders will have their business permits suspended for 10 days. Second-time offenders will have their permits suspended for 30 days. Third-time offenders will have their permits revoked.

“The pirated, counterfeit or fake goods and articles, of any person engaged in any business or trade, with or without any license or permits shall be taken into preventive custody and disposed of in accordance with law,” Santiago said.

He said the president, director, manager, trustee, estate administrator, or officer who consents to or knowingly tolerates the selling of pirates CDs, DVDs, and other products will also be charged as co-principal. – GMANews.TV