Bicam approves amendments to IP Code

The bicameral conference committee of Congress has approved the reconciled version of the bills amending the Intellectual Property (IP) Code.

In a meeting held at Traders Hotel, the conferees from the Senate and the House of Representatives succeeded to reconcile the disagreeing provisions on Senate Bill 2842 and House Bill 3841.

Sen. Manny Villar, chairman of the Committee on Trade and Commerce, said there is a need to update RA 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code to better equip the country against intellectual theft and protect copyrighted works.

Villar said among the approved amendments is the provision exempting the blind or visually-impaired persons from securing permission for the non-commercial reproduction of copyrighted works for their use.

The committee also amended the law to include a provision that will strengthen the protection of audio-visual performances of Filipino artists.

Villar, who heads the Senate panel, expressed confidence that the amendment will be signed into law before the adjournment.

“Sa palagay ko naman walang kadahilanan para hindi pirmahan agad ito. Kumukuha na kami ng signatures ngayon para sa lalong madaling panahon ay makakuha na kami ng approval sa Senado at sa malaking kapulungan,” he said.

Once signed into law, the Bureau of Copyright under the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines will be created.

“This addresses the need for one group to handle copyright matters. The public needs a government agency it can rely on to respond to its copyright concerns,” Villar said.

He noted that in the past, copyright concerns have been handled as an ordinary issue, and was proven to be very inefficient and difficult to justify legally and financially.

Villar said an updated IP law is needed to boost copyright-based industries and further promote its competitive advantage especially because CBIs contribute almost 5 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Aside from Villar, the conferees from the Senate are Senators Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Loren Legarda and Edgardo Angara. The conferees from the House of Representatives are Representatives Albert Garcia, Tomas Apacible, Joel Roy Duavit, Rufus Rodriguez, Irwin Tieng, Juan Edgardo Angara, Diosdado Arroyo, Mar-Len Abigail Binay, and Magtanggol Gunigundo.

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