Renewed focus on Anti-Camcording Act
“Many Filipinos do not understand that piracy is stealing and it is a crime,” said Joji Alonso, legal counsel for the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council, in her opening remarks at a recent workshop on the Anti-Camcording Act in Taguig City.
“In 2010, a very important law was passed—Republic Act No. 10088, the Anti-Camcording Act of the Philippines,” Alonso noted. “There was a massive change. Our country was lifted off the international watch list—a small victory for the film industry. Last year, we were back on that list.”
Through the workshop, Alonso added, she and representatives of law enforcement agencies and film industry executives hoped to “make the camcording law a more effective deterrent against movie piracy.”
Another speaker, Police Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), stressed that the event was aimed at reminding law enforcers and the public of the four-year-old law.
Magalong told the Inquirer that the CIDG worked closely with the Optical Media Board (OMB) in confiscating pirated video and audio materials: “There [is deputization]. Our operations are always in conjunction with the OMB’s. It [is] the lead agency.”
But, he said, “Our enforcement activities with the OMB involve only confiscation of pirated materials, nothing about camcording.”
He elaborated that such operations have not been as active, mainly because of the six-month suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman of OMB Chair Ronnie Ricketts in September for alleged “neglect of duty.”
Magalong revealed, “The CIDG [worked] closely with Chair Ricketts. Our operations were very intense. But because of the suspension, we haven’t been as active. [This workshop] is very timely. The OMB deals with production of materials. We need to address that, too. There are many places in the Philippines where the sale of pirated CDs is unabated.”
Another group that worked closely with the OMB is Genric Holdings Ltd., which provides security services to corporate clients. Senior consultant Paul Ingram, a workshop participant, said camcording was a persistent problem.
“High-profile, blockbuster movies, ‘X-Men,’ ‘Transformers’ [and] every single locally produced Filipino movie [are targeted],” he said. “We’ve had great support from the Philippine National Police, OMB and National Bureau of Investigation. The exhibitors, at their own cost, have increased security, produced trailers and signposts, and trained their own checkers to identify potential camcorders.”
Ingram added that the public’s attitude was generally helpful. “Yes, it’s typically [a few] bad eggs that spoil it for everybody else.”
In his speech prior to the workshop proper, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Metro Manila Film Festival Chair Francis Tolentino said the “landmark piece of legislation was hailed as a triumph for the film industry and a big blow to film piracy.”
However, years after the initial, dramatic decline of illegal camcording, the same old problem resurfaced, according to Tolentino: “What went wrong? Ningas-cogon? Were we, perhaps, so elated by early success, that we became complacent and soon dropped our guard? We must renew our commitment, collective will and resolve to fight this evil.”
A new trailer that discourages illegal camcording, starring Derek Ramsey and Kristoffer King, was unveiled at the event.
Copies of a handbook on RA 10088, with details on the law and corresponding police intervention procedures, were distributed to attendees and members of the press.