Online trading

OMB monitors online trading platforms like FB, Lazada, Shopee, Carousell in its fight against piracy

Jeremy Marquez
President of OMB

A new law must be passed. We’re doing our best to make the final months of this administration count for something,” said actor Jeremy Marquez, chairman of the Optical Media Board (OMB), the agency responsible for regulating the production, use and the distribution of recording media in the country.

Marquez was sworn in as OMB president in November 2021, replacing Christian Natividad. He has a fixed term of three years. Prior to joining OMB, he was Director of the Fair Trade Enforcement Office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). He is the son of actor and former mayor of the town of Paranaque, Joey Marquez.

The OMB is the leading agency in the fight against piracy. For Marquez, the best way to go after those who patronize pirated materials is to create legislation that will facilitate the enforcement of Republic Act 8293, or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. He added that chasing after those who violate this is a problem not only for the OMB but for any other regulatory body, such as the DTI, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and even the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board ( MTRCB).

“We have discussed with the heads of these other agencies what we can propose to the next Congress. We have already worked out a JAO (Joint Administrative Order),” Marquez told Inquirer Entertainment in a recent interview.

“Basically, the JAO is saying we have to abide by consumer laws. Right now, it’s very difficult for us to really police, given that we live in an internet driven world,” he observed, adding that videos (movies and TV shows) are the most pirated content on the internet.

Marquez also pointed out that this is the jurisdiction of the NTC and that the OMB can only “help” by providing the necessary information to said agency. “With the new law, we will be able to simplify this and speed up the application process. It’s really difficult because when you take down a website today, a new one will be put up tomorrow. We are really doing our best,” he said.

Fight against piracy

Apart from fighting piracy, the OMB is also mandated to regulate the form of digital memory, meaning any gadget that has digital memory storage capabilities, Marquez explained.

“Even before they arrive in the country, and even before they are sold in outlets or shops, they need an import license from the OMB. Instead of just focusing on law enforcement, we want to help stakeholders by teaching them. First, there is a need to educate store owners about OMB. Of course, you want your business to be legitimate. For our part, we want to know how we can reach out to them to help them obtain the necessary permits,” he explained.

“On the hard side of the application, which is admittedly very necessary, our problem is no longer just physical stores. We also have to monitor online trading platforms like Facebook, Lazada, Carousell and Shopee, as well as check all these streaming apps,” he said.

Marquez also said that the OMB still airs its old infomercials, especially one featuring OMB Ambassador Angel Locsin. “We are in the process of creating new ones. We are doing the scripts. We hope to come up with new ones every month, focusing on stories from ordinary Filipinos,” he explained. “We will not just focus on piracy or its effects. We will try to touch the hearts of Filipinos by advocating a sense of fairness and integrity.

Marquez admitted that the OMB, under his leadership, has yet to come across a company or individual who has asked the agency for help while claiming to be a victim of piracy, even during the two-week Metro Manila Film. Festival 2021 (MMFF) in December. “We don’t take that as a good thing, but that the activity is very minimal. The agency received reports during the MMFF 2020 race – that a movie which is about to be released has already been uploaded to Facebook,” he reported, adding that the OMB has communicated with the makers. and producers to ask them what they thought was the best way to handle similar situations.

“The author is very difficult to identify. How did they get access to it? It could be a leak or it could be intentional. It will be very difficult to prevent it, but what we plan to do, it’s to make sure people don’t participate, to tell them it’s wrong and it’s against our moral standards,” Marquez said.

“What we would rather do is take bigger steps in terms of raising public awareness. We meet with our stakeholders, not only retailers and exporters/importers, but also people involved in the media (content creators, gamers, film and music producers, among others) to try to find out exactly what the state of their industries,” he said. “We are also looking at what other countries are doing. Korea is one of the best in terms of censorship and piracy law. INQ

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