As counterfeiters swarm e-commerce sites, gov’t urged to crack the whip
E-commerce is the new frontier for piracy and counterfeiting in the country, according to an anticrime advocacy group, which thus urged the authorities to act on the widespread display of these crimes even in some commercial establishments.
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said these criminals seemed to have adopted digital solutions in their illegal operations, and have thus far avoided the long arm of the law.
“Since the pandemic, e-commerce has been the favored venue of consumer transactions and this includes the issue of piracy, considering that entertainment such as theaters couldn’t be accessed as in prepandemic [period],” VACC president Arsenio Evangelista told the Inquirer in an interview.
For instance, Evangelista observed that services were being offered by tenants in some malls to download pirated copies of movies, video games and software, and accepting payments for them using e-commerce platforms.
“It is very sad that even the mall owners tolerate, if not encourage these despite the advice and notices,” he said, further explaining that these landlords could not feign ignorance since they had been raided so many times in the past for similar crimes.
The VACC official said that the proliferation of these crimes was also causing the government to lose tax money, while workers in these establishments were not getting proper wages.
“Worst of all, they are destroying the fabric of law and order, violating IP (intellectual property) rights and depriving the industries. Gaming, cinematic and the music industry are affected on their legitimate income,” he said.
He added that these crimes were practically considered as theft and could be tantamount to “economic sabotage.”
On Tuesday, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said there was a 48-percent decrease in the number of pirating and counterfeiting complaints received by its office during the first half of the year.
According to the IP rights body, shows and movies were the most pirated during the six-month period, accounting for 44.4 percent of the total fillings in its office.
Other works bootlegged by pirates were paintings, which had a share of 22.2 percent, general e-books (22.2 percent) and software (11.1 percent).
The IPOPHL said it was encouraging the public to report these violations to their office to stop the proliferation of these crimes.