PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF R.A. 10372

 

 

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF R.A. 10372

 

 

 

 

With the outburst of technology, people have been creating inventions, goods and even literary works that tend to shape the society of today. And with the kind of communication and information sharing that we have now, these creations of the mind can easily be disseminated among peers. These creations profit the authors, owners and inventors economically which is why their rights to their creations have to be protected. Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce (World Intellectual Property Organization). Since intellectual property is broad on its meaning, it would be better to define it in terms with regards to the law. And in the article of William Fisher, he referred to intellectual property as

 

a loose cluster of legal doctrines that  regulate the uses of different sorts of ideas and insignia. The law of copyright protects  various “original forms of expression,” including novels, movies, musical compositions, and computer software programs. Patent law protects inventions and some kinds of discoveries. Trademark law protects words and symbols that identify for consumers the goods and services manufactured or supplied by particular persons or firms (Fisher)

 

Here in the Philippines, we have the Intellectual Property Code which details the scope of intellectual property rights, registration for trademarks and patents, the rights of the inventors, owners and authors and also what would constitute infringement on such rights.

 

 

The Intellectual Property Code has been in effect since June 6, 1997. But recently, in the year 2013, February 28, amendments have been made to R.A. 8293 or Intellectual Property Code (IPC). These amendments are embodied in R.A. 10372 and the objective of this paper is to look into the implications that R.A. 10372 has with respect to R.A. 8293. In general, if we look at the provisions that have been amended, most are regarding copyright laws. R.A. 10372 has empowered copyright owners and gave the more rights. Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings (World Intellectual Property Organization)

 

 

To start with, R.A. 10372 amended Section 6 of the Intellectual Property Code dealing with the Organizational Structure of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). It created an additiona bureau as the seventh bureau in the office, the Bureau of Copyright and Other Related Rights. In the IPC, before the amendment, there was no office for copyright. There is one for patents, trademarks, legal affairs and another two but none for copyright. But now, we can see that copyright is being given more focus and importance in intellectual property. Because now, the work of performers like sound recordings, music videos, books being converted to ebooks and dance performances are being proliferated across the internet. People are sharing these creative works using torrents or other peer-to-peer software intended for sharing. Thus further protection of such works is being called for. Also due to the increase of copyrighted work,s issues concerning the latter are becoming diverse especially with regards to licensing of an author’s right. An office to settle such disputes is needed and the Bureau of Copyright and Other Related Rights (BCRR) is now given the power to exercise original jurisdiction to resolve such disputes among others which is enumerated in the new section, Section 9A.

 

But the problem here would lie on the expansion of the functions of the Director General and Deputy Director General regarding his newly granted power to conduct visits during reasonable hours to establishments and businesses engaging in activities violating intellectual property rights and provisions of this act based on report, information or complaint received by the office. This would mean in actuality that when the IPO gets any report, confirmed or otherwise, the Director General would then have the power to go into the establishment reported. Of course when the Director General conducts this visit, he would not simple say hi to the owner of the suspected establishment, it would warrant him to look around the premises and conduct his so called visit.

 

 

When you look at it that way, would it not equate to unwarranted search and seizure? By the power granted under the amended Section 7, it could give rise to such a situation which would give the Director General such as to conduct an unwarranted search based on reports or suspicions of infringing activities. This is clearly in violation of a private individual’s right against unwarranted search and seizure. Prof. Disini explained the implications:

 

 

“If you are a victim of copyright infringement, under the new law you can ask a government agency (the IPO) to enter a privately owned space in order to search, to look around. Let’s take another situation – let’s take the case of rape or murder. Let’s say you’re related to someone who was murdered. You know that certain evidence about the suspected murderer is located in a particular place. As a victim’s relative, you cannot just go to the place and enter. You need a warrant. Why is it that Congress will give the victim of intellectual property rights violations more rights than the victim of heinous crimes? (Robles, 2013)

 

 

It is of course saddening to think that copyright owners would be given more preference in terms of violations of their rights as oppose to those against whom heinous crimes have been committed, like murder, rape and robbery. When you look at it in a deeper context, these copyright owners who would really benefit from such would be those big multinational companies. They would not want their profits to be hampered and would thus opt for more protection from the government. Of course this is just speculation on my part but then again, in real life scenarios, they are really the ones who get the most out of the law, unlike ordinary citizens who are the ones really in most need of protection from the law. Also this power of the Director General applies not only to copyrighted materials, but also for patents and trademarks. The extent of this power is vast and can be misued. I think that this provision would not only pose problems on copyright but also for patent and trademark.

 

But then again, individuals will not be the only ones who will experience problem regarding the amendments made by R.A. 10372. According to Raisa Robles, another new section now makes it possible to stop individuals from downloading from torrents that foreign companies have tagged as illegal download centers. Section 216 will now make Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liable if they are notified that a customer is downloading from such torrents sites and they do not do anything about it. Here is the section (Robles, 2013). They would be liable under letter (b) of Section 216 because one way or another they would be benefitting from the infringing activity of the person committing the infringement. That person would pay for their services and their bandwith just so he could download torrents to his devices. Of course the profits made by the ISPs for subscription to their services would be the benefit they received.

 

ISPs would not be the only ones with this provisions. Establishments like building for rent and malls would also have a problem with this in cases where those who rent spaces from them would actually conduct infringing activities like the selling of pirated DVDs which is very common nowadays, and the rent paid to them would thus be their benefit, then they can also fall under this provision. I know of a certain mall who used to have vendors in them with stalls displaying pirated DVDs for sale. One day, the vendors put down their stalls per instructions of the managment of the mall. And yet, I still see some who discreetly offer to passing customers the sale of those pirated DVDs. This would then make this certain mall liable because it could not prevent the infringing activity of their leasees.

 

 

Another one of the most controversial amendment to the Intellectual Property Code is the deletion of Section 190 specifically sections 190.1, 190.2 and 190.3. It effectively removed the imporatation by the individual of a copy or work even without the authorization of the owner under certain circumstances.

 

 

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, a principal author of the bill, made this clarification yesterday amid apprehensions raised by overseas Filipino workers and travelers that the new law bans the bringing in of products covered by intellectual property (IP) rights.The confusion arose from the deletion of two provisions in the old law limiting the bringing in or importation of such products for personal use to only three copies. The President signed the amendments into law on Feb. 28. The new statute, denominated as Republic Act 10372, was published in The STAR yesterday. It takes effect 15 days after its publication in two national newspapers. Rodriguez said the deletion of the two provisions does not mean that the new law bans the bringing in of copyrighted products like books, music and films or movies. On the contrary, it means that there is no more limit to the entry of these products, provided that they are for personal use (Diaz, 2031).

 

 

But contrary to such claims, the deletion of those provisions would actually entail the deletion of the limitations of the rights of the copyright owner/author. These limitations are their to provide the public of a leeway in which to import certain works even without asking for authorization from the owner/author. The implication of this is that without the protection or should I say limitation provided by those provisions then the reality is that for indivuals who would want to import works, let’s us say books for example which are not yet published or made available here in the Philippines, they would first have to go to the author/owner and obtain his/her permission for the individual to do so even if he has already brought the book.

 

This would pose a problem for some because there are cases wherein educational books, like medical books for example which are used or needed by medical students and are required for in their studies cannot be found here in the Philippines yet and needed to be ordered from outside the country. What if in the situation that a family member or a friend is coming home from abroad and is asked to buy such book/s, then he would not be able to bring the items without first getting permission to do so. It would be such a hassle on the part of the family member or friend to actually go to the owners or authors of such books even if he has legitimately bought them from the store.

 

 

Section 212 would also be problematic in this scenario. It amended the limitations of the rights of the performers and producers of sound recording wherein the scope of their rights would not apply to acts performed by a natural person exclusively for his own personal purpose. Specfically I think it would be most problematic in reproduction of the performaces fixed in sound recordings in any manner and any form. It would mean that even if there was no intent on the part of the individual to profit from reproducing the sound recordings, and he would not put the copies on sale or even distribute them, still he has obtain permission from the performer of the sound recording. What if the individual would just want to make back up copies of the CD he just purchased, or he just wanted to make copies so that he can listen to the music in his other devises, then it would mean to say that he would actually have to go to the performer or producer just so he could do it. It renders this scenario absurd and impractical.

 

 

R.A. 10372 deleted this provision without providing for an alternative in this scenario. According to their FAQs, Infringement in this context refers to the economic rights of the copyright owner. So, if you transfer music from a lawfully acquired CD into a computer, then download it to a portable device for personal use, then you didn’t commit infringement. But if, for example, you make multiple copies of the CD to sell, then infringement occurs (FAQs on the amendments to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, 2013). Although this is their statement regarding the matter, the wordings of the amendment provision does not provide for such a scenario but on the contrary, it makes the simple act of making back up copies of files legally bought, as an infringing act.

 

 

This brings us to another matter that makes for a complicated situation. The definition of reproduction has been amended to included reproduction either as temporary or permanent, whole or in part of a sound recording. Thus even if for example, a person is copying the contents of the usb flash disk of his friend because his friend would need to reformat such usb and would need a back up copy of his files, the good samaritan friend who copies and back ups the contents of the owner of the usb would then be liable for infringement if the usb would contain copyrighted sound recordings. And even if he did not meant to make use of such sound recording, or if he would have deleted the files right away after his friend is able to transfer them back to his usb, the individual would still be liable because of the wordings of the term reproduction.

 

 

This provision, Section 171.9 has clearly resticted the acts of the private individuals with how they handle their sound recordings, whether such sound recordings have been legally bought or not. And by restricting it as such it made simple and ordinary acts as crimes with which copyright owners have a claim against. It is like even if a person has legally bought the sound recording, he or she has very limited right on how to manage such file. I think by giving more rights to the copyright owners, for their own benefit, it has rendered criminal several circumstances which occurs in the ordinary course of daily lives. Of course although not everyone is innocent, it also goes to show that not every one is guilty.

 

 

But not every amendment of the R.A. 10372 poses problems or is detrimental in general. I think one of the good highlights of the amendments is with regards to Section 188 regarding Reprographic Reproduction by Libraries. Instead of allowing said libraries falling under this section to make only a single copy of the work that they have without authorization from the copyright owner, R.A. 10372 changed the words, a single copy to limited copies in order to preserve or replace the work in the event that it is lost, destroyed or rendered unusable. A lot of unexpected and unforseen circumstanes can occur without warning, for example a flood, storm or fire may break out of the library thereby effectively destroying some of the works contained therein, especially if it affected those works which are hard to obtain or is out of print already.

 

In such instance, it is imperative to not only have one copy at hand but to have multiple copies of the works in order to counter such circumstances. Also, it cannot be avoided that there are times when those who borrow books defaces the books, write notes or markings which renders some of the pages unreadable. Or also there are cases not limited to defacing but also taking the books without any intention of returning them. The amendment in Section 188 is a good counter measure for such occasions and would be a big help to libraries who encounters these kinds of cases.

 

 

The wording of Section 188 could have been used instead in Section 190 rather than deleting such important provisions with the intention of removing the limitation on importing copyrighted works here in our country. It would have been a more viable solution rather than the one that has been brought about by R.A. 10372.

 

 

With all these problematic implications that the amendments to the Intellectual Property Code have, IPOPHL had said the public will be given wider participation in drafting the amended IP Code’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR)  (De Vera, 2013). But then again implementing rules and regulations can only cover so far as that which the law allows. It cannot go beyond and above the law. And it is not the remedy needed to fix the complicated and dare I say unwanted situations mentioned above. This is even reiterated in a coverage under Interaksyon of the comments made by Atty. Disini. He said that

 

the IRR couldn’t exactly “correct” or make the controversial clauses of the amendments any better for users of copyrighted materials, which is why he was recommending that Aquino veto the law.“You can’t write something on the IRR that is contrary to the law itself. Many of the things in there cannot be solved by the IRR,” he explained. Disini stressed the precarious situation that IP users and IP owners have with regard to the law, where the latter could easily attack any unfavorable provisions in the IRR since the statute is generally “favorable to them.” “That will be the question now. Just how persuasive will the IRR and the IP Office be?” he asked. But for members of Democracy.Net.PH, the only recourse now is to repeal the law as it is “biased against stakeholders in a way the Constitution is not.” (Tuazon, 2013)

 

 

I think that what would have to be done is that the amendments have to be amended again. And this would mean that a new law has to be passed in order to cure the problematic situations caused by R.A. 10372. Laws should be reviewed very thoroughly before being passed just yet. Because once a law is passed, it very well affects the lives and rights of the people and as such if it has complications like the ones regarding R.A. 10372 then it becomes detrimental to the people. Which is why careful analysis, input by technical experts and lawyers versed in the field are needed in order that to ensure that if the Intellectual Property Code would need to be amended again in order to address these problems, then it would not again bring about problematic situations like the ones that we have now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

De Vera, B. A. (2013, March 6). PNoy signs into law amendments to IP Code. Retrieved May 27, 2014, from Interaksyon: http://www.interaksyon.com/business/56498/pnoy-signs-into-law-amendments-to-ip-code

Diaz, J. (2031, March 8). P-Noy signs IP Code amendments. Retrieved May 24, 2014, from PhilStar: http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/03/08/917004/p-noy-signs-ip-code-amendments

FAQs on the amendments to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. (2013, March 8). Retrieved May 25, 2014, from Official Gazette: http://www.gov.ph/2013/03/08/faqs-on-the-amendments-to-the-intellectual-property-code-of-the-philippines/

Fisher, W. (n.d.). Theories of Intellectual Property. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from Harvard Law School: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/tfisher/iptheory.html

Robles, R. (2013, March 6). Copyright owners have more rights than heinous crime victims with Congress’ IP Code changes – lawyers say. Retrieved May 24, 2014, from Inside Philippe Politics and Beyond: http://raissarobles.com/2013/03/06/copyright-owners-have-more-rights-than-heinous-crime-victims-with-congress-ip-code-changes-lawyers-say/

Tuazon, J. (2013, March 6). NEW LAW UNDER FIRE | Critics slam ‘problematic’ IP code amendments. Retrieved May 27, 2014, from Interaksyon: http://www.interaksyon.com/infotech/new-law-under-fire-critics-slam-problematic-ip-code-amendments

World Intellectual Property Organization. (n.d.). What is Intellectual Property? Retrieved May 18, 2014, from World Intellectual Property Organization: http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/freepublications/en/intproperty/450/wipo_pub_450.pdf

World Intellectual Property Organization. (n.d.). World Intellectual Property Organization. Retrieved May 18, 2014, from Copyright: http://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/

 

 

 

A LOOK INTO THE MAGNA CARTA FOR PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM

 

 

 

A LOOK INTO THE MAGNA CARTA FOR PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM

 

 

 

 

The Internet has become an intergral part in the lives of people across the globe. Even some of those in the poor section of society for example has a Facebook account; which means to say that even if they are lacking in the basic necessities, these people still find the means to access the internet and be connected with others everywhere. This dependence on the internet can even be seen in the lives of Filipinos. Most are hooked on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to name a few. For academic purposes, the students are dependent on the internet for research, homework and papers. Wifi is an in demand commodity and a lot of households subscribes to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This is but a showing of how information and communications technology has seeped into an average persons life and ingrained itself in his or her daily routine.

 

 

According to Kahn and Cerf in their 1999 article, in the new Information Age, we are learning to magnify brainpower by putting the power of computation wherever we need it, and to provide information services on a global basis. Computer resources are infinitely flexible tools; networked together, they allow us to generate, exchange, share and manipulate information in an uncountable number of ways. The Internet, as an integrating force, has melded the technology of communications and computing to provide instant connectivity and global information services to all its users at very low cost(Kahn & Cerf, 2003). With the important role internet has, and the diverse ways it can be utilized, it has been used as a means of improving lives. Families separated by thousands of miles can stay connected, students have been using it for online sources, and ideas circulate by uploading or posting articles, opinions or “tweets” for others to read, comment, and pass on to their peers.

 

 

But it can also cause injury ranging from mere annoyance to grave damage. Viruses, cyberbullying, piracy and data theft are some examples of these acts. Because of how vital internet has become, it gave way to clamor between the government and the people on how best to manage the use of the internet. The United States of America (USA) has its Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS)

 

responsible for implementing the Department’s national strategies in combating computer and intellectual property crimes worldwide. CCIPS prevents, investigates, and prosecutes computer crimes by working with other government agencies, the private sector, academic institutions, and foreign counterparts. Section attorneys work to improve the domestic and international infrastructure-legal, technological, and operational-to pursue network criminals most effectively. The Section’s enforcement responsibilities against intellectual property crimes are similarly multi-faceted. Intellectual Property (IP) has become one of the principal U.S. economic engines, and the nation is a target of choice for thieves of material protected by copyright, trademark, or trade-secret designation. In pursuing all these goals, CCIPS attorneys regularly run complex investigations, resolve unique legal and investigative issues raised by emerging computer and telecommunications technologies; litigate cases; provide litigation support to other prosecutors; train federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel; comment on and propose legislation; and initiate and participate in international efforts to combat computer and intellectual property crime (The United States Department of Justice).

 

 

Here in the Philippines, we also have Republic Act 10175 also known as the Cybercrime Law. But in the wake of passing such law, a lot of netizens rose in outrage at what they consider as containing reperssive and contentious. This brought forth an action by the netizens to call for a Magna Carta for Internte Freedom. In the artilce of Galla,

 

it is the story of how six ordinary, tech- and internet-savvy citizens, over three hundred online onlookers on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Docs, and a number of their politically-connected friends brought the dream of a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom to the august halls of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines, and found in Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago a champion for civil and political rights in cyberspace. It is their belief that the lack of understanding of government in general and legislators in particular of information and communications technology and the Internet, and that the crafting of laws governing their areas of interest could not be allowed to be shoddy work by the technologically semi-illiterate. It was up to these tweeps to craft something that made sense, and then present it to legislators for their consideration. (Galla, 2012).

 

 

Constitutional rights shall not be diluted in the Information Age. This is the guarantee sought to be galvanized by Senate Bill 3327, filed on November 12, 2012, by the eminent constitutionalist and international law expert Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago. In what is a first in Philippine legislative history, the provisions of the bill authored by Senator Santiago draw directly upon the suggestions of Filipino netizens solicited through online “crowdsourcing”. The proposed measure seeks to address not only the protection of  but also the establishment of the rights of Internet users in the Philippines. Also, guided by the expert knowledge of the diverse set of IT and legal specialists who advised on the bill, SBN 3327 seeks to establish a sensible, fact-oriented and balanced environment that defends Filipinos against against cybercrimes and cyberattacks. Senate Bill 3327 is titled, appropriately enough, “An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity” (Galla, Santiago Files Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, 2012). Senate Bill 3327 was initially Senate Bill 53 in the First Regular Session of Congress and later became Senate Bill 3327 at the Third Regular Session.

 

 

There are differences between the Cybercrime Law and the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF) which makes people believe that the MCPIF is better than the Cybercrime Law. One of the most prominent is the issue on libel. In the MCPIF liber is penalized with a civil liability while the Cybercrime Law imposes the penalty for internet libel with criminal and civil liability. With regards to this, it has its ups and downs. On one hand, it is more lenient on the offender since at most he will be made to pay compensation for damages caused by him which is what the offended person would most likely aim for. And in case of malicious prosection, the accused would not be made to worry gravely with that idea that possible imprisonment is upon him. But on the other hand, removing the criminal liabilty would not instill discipline on the offender, especially if he has a lot of money to spare. The offender could just pay his way out with a civil liabilty and in a way decriminalize libel. This would depend on how the Cybercrime Courts would handle cases.

 

 

In extreme cases for example, decriminalizing libel would give way to a large avenue for cyberbullying. This kinds of things are not uncommon even here in the Philippines. Chris Lao the guy who drove his car through floodwater and the Amalayer girl, Paula Salvosa are examples of those who endured cyberbullying here in th Philippines. They had been made fun of and even hated on in social networks. Some people would experience trauma from bullying, how much more if it is placed online for the world to see. It would have a longer effect and a wider range of people to join in the bullying. What is to deter these would-be cyberbullies if what they did would only incur civil liabilty. Though there is a law that punishes bullying, it does not cover the cases of those beyond elementary students. The persons of Chris Lao and Paula Salvosa would not fall under the Anti-Child Bullying law.

 

Thus the MCPIF in decriminalizing libel would strip protection and deterrence against such kinds of occurances. What could be done maybe is to define clearly what could fall under libel and what would be considered as a valid exercise of freedom of speech. Or certain exceptions under libel can be introduced and widened to minimize the effects against those who only wish to express their dissatisfaction against public figures, corporations or even against individual persons. But within reasonable limits, of course.

 

 

Another differnce would lie on provisions regarding illegal search and seizure. There are those who argue that the R.A. 10175 violates the right to privacy and the constitutional guarantee against illegal search and seizure by allowing warrantless real-time collection. This is why the MCPIF provides strict, detailed guidelines in collecting data to counter possible abuse and violation of the constitutional guarantee against illegal search and seizure. This ideally is good but of course implementation may not be the same. This can be improved by providing specific procedures on how to do about with a valid search and seizure as to establish a clearer cut line on valid and invalid search and seizure.

 

 

The MCPIF used the term hacking as one of the violations against data security. The term should have been made more specific since hacking can either be for a good or bad cause. It can be a means to test a software’s security system or it can be made to obtain files without valid authorization as to cause injury to the owner. This has been the problem with the E-Commerce Law. The terms used were not technical which should have been since we are talking about information and communications technology.

 

 

Layman’s terms are to be avoided in such cases. Hacking had been the word used to describe an offense falling under violation of data security. Since there are such hackers which are considered white hat hacker and there are those which are considered as black hat hackers, the terms hacking could have been substituted. Hacking itself has its purposes which may not be entirely illegal. The word “hacking” has two definitions.The first definition refers to the hobby/profession of working with computers. The second definition refers to breaking into computer systems. While the first definition is older and is still used by many computer enthusiasts (who refer to cyber-criminals as “crackers”), the second definition is much more commonly used. In particular, the web pages here refer to “hackers” simply because our web-server logs show that every one who reaches these pages are using the second definition as part of their search criteria (Internet Security Systems).

 

 

In Section 4 (ii) regarding the right of people to petition the government for redress of grievances, I think this can be better exercised if there are procedures provided in how to go about this petitions. Because sometimes, theses petitions when received are just left on the desk, buried under mountains of other papers and thus forgotten. People who may have a valid and reasonable arguments in their petitions would be left wondering what happened to those petitions and feel that the government is ignoring their grievances. This is way some go to social networks as a media to air their grievances due to the feeling that their petitions would be futile. If there are rules and regulations with regards on how to efficiently address the petitions that are coming to the government, then the right granted by Section 4 (ii) can                                                                                                                                                                          be effectively exercised by the people with hope for results.

 

 

With respect to Section 5 (e) regarding persons or entities offering internet access for free, it is said that they should not restrict access to the internet made by employees, students, members and guests without reasonable ground to the protection from actual or legal threats. But then even given this scenario, how about those schools that prohibits facebook access which essetially does not constitute an actual or legal threat. Or even offices who restricts pornographic sites. Not that I would advocate for such actions but then again, when these acts does not really produce actual threats against the protection of the person or entity but are still restricted from access, would they be liable under this section and if so what would be the extent of the liabilty of the persons or entities restricting such access. I think this can be better improved if made clearer.

 

 

The MCPIF has been born precisely because of the demand of the netizens for the protection of their rights in cyberspace and the need to regulate and penalize cybercrimes. And as such it will have varying perspective in its impact on different sectors of society. For the common people or the public in general, I think the MCPIF will give the more leeway openly express their thoughts on blogs and social networks. And these ideas can be disseminated along to their peers by sharing or retweeting such posts. It can be a conglomeration of ideas and opinions and facilitate for an intellectual discussion, I hope, even among those interested in certain topics. Therefore it allows for a wider avenue for freedom of speech. It poses an advantage for the public since it would guarantee the right of the public to exercise their constitutional freedom of speech, to air out their opinions, ideas and grievances. And in doing so in terms of grievances, the general public can be made aware of anomalies or wrongdoings of public figures, groups, corporations, entities or individuals with ill-intent or fraud.

 

But on the other hand, it has its disadvantages. The perspective of the public and can be twisted when this freedom is used and abused at the same time, cyberbullying specifically. When would it still be considered as an exercise of freedom of speech or when does it cross the boundary into hate speech or internet libel. This is something that has to be addressed since the public looks up to MCPIF as a protection of their freedom and their right against abuse in the cyberspace.

 

 

In the government’s perspective, MCPIF provides for stricter rules and procedures in obtaining information from the public as a whole or from certain individuals. Of course if the S.B. 53 is passed, it would come with the creation of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT). Of course in the point of view of the government it would need able and competent public officers versed in the law and technology to man the department and handle the responsibilities that come with the birth of the DICT. According to the MCPIF, one of the strategic objectives of the DICT would be to ensure the availability and accessibility of ICT services in areas not adequately served by the private sector. In idea though, this is beneficial to the internet-dependent public hungry for access to cyberspace but failed to do so due to lack of ICT facilities. The problem with this is the funding for such idea of course. Taxes would have to be used honestly and a means to ensure the generation of funds and full delivery of services would have to be developed so that this objective can be realized and would not die as mere words on paper.

 

 

The MCPIF imposes more responsibility on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for security to subscribers. This failure to do so is provided under Section 44 and its penalty is stated under Section 60 (c) and (d). This would emphasize the obligation that ISPs have to the subscribers. It extends not only for adequate internet service and facilities but also the need for appropriate security level for the data and storage media. It may be either intentionally or unintentionally, the obligation still remains.

 

Of course the problem would lie with regards to the penalty involve with the violation of Section 44. It is said that Failure to Provide Security and Negligent Failure to Provide Security is punishable by fine and imprisonment. The problem I see here is the imposition of the penalty of imprisonment. It would be hard to impose such penalty to telecommunication entities. I mean, if proven guilty, who would be the one to go behind bars since such entities are only juridical and natural persons and the ones whom can be imprisoned.

 

 

Still, the MCPIF outlines the obligations that ISPs should have to the subscribers. It gives more protection to subscribers and it would also serve as protection to the interest of the ISPs so that they are more motivated to increase their security. If they do not provide adequate and competent services it would also be detrimental to their business leaving a bad mark on corporate reputation. They would gain as well as be restricted with the passing of the MCPIF.

 

 

The internet has really become an integral aspect of everyday routine. ICT and the Internet are part of our daily lives.

 

 

 

Philippine critical infrastructure is controlled, maintained, and accessed using ICT and Internet networks and these must be protected. An estimated 30 million Filipinos are internet users, with over 90% of the population mobile phone subscribers. The country’s critical infrastructure—government, utilities, communications, banking and finance, mass media, among others—have facilities that are controlled, maintained, and accessed using ICT and Internet networks. The rise of cyber attacks against critical infrastructure highlights the need to secure our critical infrastructure from similar attacks. With the MCPIF, cyber security becomes an integral part of the country’s defense program. Government must harness ICT and Internet technologies to engage citizens effectively and provide services efficiently (Galla, MCPIF: FactSheet, 2012)

 

 

Which is why although the MCPIF is not entirely perfect and would need tweaks, the call for a proper law to protect and establish the rights of netizens is necessary and MCPIF would hopefully serve as the answer to such call. Since according to York’s article, the past couple of years have seen a growing interest in Internet regulation developed in a multistakeholder environment.  From Brazil to Jordan, such participatory processes have yielded mixed results, but around the world, many activists, policymakers, and other stakeholders remain optimistic that multistakeholder-developed regulation is possible (York, 2013).

 

 

This need for a competent law to regulate cyberspace is also further explained by Senator Defensor-Santiago who pushes for the passage of the MCPIF. In the Press Release article on the website of the Senate of the Philippines, it elaborates that Santiago says the country needs a more effective cyberlaw because information and communications technology (ICT) and the Internet are drivers of economic growth. According to a 2012 report by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, the information technology outsourcing (ITO) industry, and other outsourcing industries, also known as knowledge worker industries, which are strongly dependent on fast and reliable ICT and Internet networks, have contributed USD 11B in export revenues, or an estimated 5.4% contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Philippines in 2011 (MAGNA CARTA FOR INTERNET FREEDOM TO REPLACE ANTI-CYBERCRIME LAW — MIRIAM, 2012).

 

 

To sum it up, a lot of hopes are riding on the MCPIF. With its pros and cons to different stakeholders, it is with hope that it will be able to maintain the balance between the protection of rights and enforcement of liability to those due to it. Though ideally it is good in a holistic view, its implementation would face certain problems and I think that to be able to effectively uphold the values embedded in the bill, each must do their part to achieve the objects in the MCPIF.

 

Bibliography

Galla, P. T. (2012, November 26). Crowdsourcing: The Story of the Drafting of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from The ProPinoy Project: http://propinoy.net/2012/11/26/crowdsourcing-the-story-of-the-drafting-of-the-magna-carta-for-philippine-internet-freedom/

Galla, P. T. (2012, December 1). MCPIF: FactSheet. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from The ProPinoy Project: http://propinoy.net/2012/12/01/mcpif-factsheet/

Galla, P. T. (2012, Novermber 13). Santiago Files Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from The ProPinoy Project: http://propinoy.net/2012/11/13/santiago-files-magna-carta-for-philippine-internet-freedom/

Internet Security Systems. (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2014, from Internet Security Systems: http://www.iss.net/security_center/advice/Underground/Hacking/default.htm

Kahn, R. E., & Cerf, V. G. (2003, February 10). Corporation From National Research Initiatives. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from What Is The Internet (And What Makes It Work): http://www.cnri.reston.va.us/what_is_internet.html

MAGNA CARTA FOR INTERNET FREEDOM TO REPLACE ANTI-CYBERCRIME LAW — MIRIAM. (2012, November 30). Retrieved May 6, 2014, from Senate of the Philippines 16th Congress: http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2012/1130_santiago1.asp

The United States Department of Justice. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2014, from Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/

York, J. (2013, July 8). A Brief Analysis of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from Electronic Frontier Foundation: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/07/brief-analysis-magna-carta-philippine-internet-freedom