Alfred Vargas (MNS photo)

MANILA, Feb 20 (Mabuhay) — Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas is asking Congress to look into the piracy that happened during the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), noting the situation has gone “from bad to worse.”

Vargas is also asking Congress to “draft the necessary legislation to curb the proliferation of movie piracy.”

He received the support of his colleagues with Pangasinan Rep. Christopher V.P. De Venecia, chair of the Special Committee, saying 30 congressmen will be filing a resolution to probe incidents of online piracy during the MMFF.

“Ang epekto po ng online piracy ay babalik din sa ating mga consumers. Kapag nawalan na ng gana ang ating mga producers ay hindi na tayo makakapanood ng magagandang kwento at magagandang cinematography na kinagigiliwan ng maraming Pilipino, lalo na ng kabataan,” De Venecia said.

“In short, marami po ang mawawala sa ating kultura bilang mga Pilipino kung patuloy na nanakawin ang mga pelikula online,” De Venecia added.

Vargas said he had filed his resolution to protect the livelihood of thousands of Filipinos who rely on the movie industry for their livelihood.

“Hindi lahat ng mga producer ay mayaman. May mga producer na gumagawa ng pelikula dahil ito ang sining nila, advocacy nila, passion nila,” he said.

“Ang industriya ay negosyo. ‘Pag nalugi, magsasara. Ang pinakalamaking dagok ay mararamdaman ng mga ordinaryong manggagawa na dati nang mahirap na lalo pang pinahihirapan ng pandemya,” he added.

Just last month, the Optical Media Board filed complaints before the Department of Justice against 15 social media users who illegally streamed MMFF movies on their social media accounts.

The OMB said they engaged in sale, distribution, or any other activity involving optical media, in violation of section 19 of RA 9239.

They also infringed on the economic rights of copyright owners under sections 177.1 and 117.7 of RA 8293 which gives copyright owners the exclusive right to reproduce or communicate to the public their work and to authorize or prevent it.

They could face up to 90 days in jail or fined up to P50,000 under the Optical Media Act while the Intellectual Property Codes imposes up to 3 years imprisonment and up to P150,000 in fines for first-time offenders. (MNS)

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