We urge President Benigno Aquino III, in the strongest possible terms, to veto the proposed changes to the Intellectual Property Code which infringe on the right of the people to import books, media and music for their own personal use. The proposal is a dangerous measure that potentially criminalizes daily actions which are crucial for the daily living, psychic well-being, and self-improvement of Filipinos. The gravity of the infringement that SB 2842 and HB 3841 will bear on key rights cannot be minimized. As the Supreme Court once held:
The Bill of Rights does not shelter gravitas alone. Indeed, it is those “trivial” yet fundamental freedoms – which the people reflexively exercise any day without the impairing awareness of their constitutional consequence – that accurately reflect the degree of liberty enjoyed by the people.
Democracy.Net.PH believes in the importance of a balanced protection of intellectual property rights. Intellectual property legislation must respect and protect the rights of the creators, the innovators, and the users. Protection of intellectual property rights cannot and must not come at the expense of any one of the stakeholders. Congress proposes to make amendments that are regressive and restrictive in this age of innovation, technological progress, and creativity.
The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, which combines rights, governance, development, and security, is an enlightened approach to intellectual property protection: It allows creators to set the protection that they need while respecting the rights of users not only to make full use of their devices but to use these devices as springboard to innovation.
Democracy.Net.PH believes that legislation must evolve in step with the evolution of technology. Thus, it is willing to work closely with legislators to help craft an intellectual property law that understands the realities of life in the digital age.
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