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IPOPHL unveils new rules on site-blocking

26 September 2023

IPOPHL unveils new rules on site-blocking

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has unveiled the eagerly awaited rules on site blocking in honor of the Philippine Creative Industries Month this September. This action is expected to significantly restrict access to pirated websites and improve the Philippines’s third-place ranking in terms of having the highest rate of piracy in East and Southeast Asia.

The Rules on Voluntary Administrative Site Blocking were approved by IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba on September 20, 2023, and were operative two months following its publication.

“The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and a number of internet service providers (ISPs) refused to sit back and watch while our creative industry suffered, so we worked with them for years to develop the laws,” said Barba. “As an ex-officio member of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council, IPOPHL is thrilled to announce that the site blocking mechanism will soon be operational. With it, the Philippines will have a crucial tool to safeguard the creativity that powers our economy and shapes our cultural landscape.” 

Barba intends to replicate Indonesia’s success in blocking pirated websites. As a result of the government’s efforts, which began in 2019, over 50 percent of users now have stopped or only occasionally use pirate services in Indonesia.

Barba said: “We encourage right holders to make the most of this instrument and safeguard the value of your intellectual materials.”

According to the rules, the procedure begins when a rights holder or properly designated agent submits a written request to the IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) along with the required filing costs. An official from the IEO will then assess the application and have 10 working days to deliver their evaluation report. The report elevates to the supervising director or deputy director general for approval within five working days and contains a recommendation on the issuance or non-issuance of a site blocking order.

The blocking request will be delivered to the website’s administrator as a matter of due procedure. A copy of the request will be placed on the IPOPHL website as due notice if the website administrator’s contact information cannot be located after the use of all reasonable efforts. 

A protest must be sent by the website administrator within seven calendar days of receipt or publishing. Within seven working days, an IEO officer will assess the grounds of the objection and provide a final decision to the supervising director or deputy director general about the issue of the request.

The supervising director or deputy director general will notify ISPs to ban a website within 48 hours if no objection is received from the website administrator within the allotted time. ISPs must then carry out the order within 48 hours. 

ISPs have the ability to block access to whole Domain Name Systems (DNS), specific IP addresses, Uniform Resource Locators (URL) for websites, as well as through any other available channels.

- Excel V. Dyquiangco

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