Like many other countries in the world, the Philippines are struggling with a relatively high piracy rate.
To counter this threat, lawmakers have started to propose new legislation.
For example, earlier this year we reported that a new bill proposes to strip the licenses of ISPs which fail to bar ‘pirate’ sites. While that goes quite far, it doesn’t address the root of the problem.
According to local Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, the law already makes it clear that piracy is illegal. However, many people simply ignore this position. Among other things, this has previously resulted in the United States adding the country to its annual ‘piracy’ watch list.
“In spite and despite of various laws and regulations in the Philippines on Intellectual Property, intellectual infringement and piracy of intellectual rights are rampant in the country,” Rodriguez writes.
“Due to these situations, the Philippines is under the watch list as one of the countries where intellectual property rights are ignored and piracy of intellectual creations is widespread,” he adds.
Interestingly, the Philippines were removed from the US watch list in 2014, but Rodriguez nonetheless believes that more has to be done. He’s therefore proposing to add ‘intellectual property’ to the country’s mandatory school curriculum. Not just for the older children, but starting at primary school.
According to the representative, it is crucial that the importance of copyright is taught at an early age as well as later in life. By doing so, the Philippine people may gain more respect for rightsholders as well as the law.
“With proper education, it is hoped that piracy will be curtailed and our laws will be strictly implemented,” Rodriguez writes.
The bill, which also proposes several other changes to the national curriculum, was adopted after the first reading in the House of Representatives and is now with the Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
The relevant copyright part of the proposal, which is included in House Bill 3749, reads as follows:
“The teaching of intellectual property ownership, particularly copyright law, is hereby required to be a part of the curriculum of all primary, secondary and tertiary schools in the country.”
While the bill is progressing through the legislative process, it still has a long way to go before being adopted. Rodriguez previously proposed similar copyright-related changes to the curriculum, but these didn’t pass, despite support form the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).
While copyright classes are not something most people associate with a mandatory curriculum, this type of education is not new. A few years ago several California schools voluntarily added copyright lessons to the curriculum, starting at kindergarten.
This effort, which was backed by major copyright holder groups, was initially criticized for being one-sided and was later upgraded to include more examples of fair use.
A copy of the bill and the associated exemplary note, received by the House of Representatives on August 8, is available here (pdf).