Piracy Impedes Growth of PHL’s Creative Industries
If the proliferation of producing and consuming pirated content continues, the Philippines may never see the true wit and talent of its creative producers and workers.
Piracy in the Philippines
According to a YouGov 2022 Piracy Landscape Survey, the Philippines is one of the top consumers of pirated content in Asia. In the same year, the country lost $700 Million (P38.2 billion) due to the piracy of video content, specifically Filipino-made TV shows and movies.
While it was already prevalent before the pandemic, Filipino consumers shifted to online pirated content. Some 44% of Filipinos consume pirated content on social media platforms.
During the long lockdowns, people needed a source of entertainment since legitimate streaming services were expensive. Many turned to social media for pirated content. Suddenly, the view count skyrocketed as millions of people found a way to cure their boredom. Platforms that earn their money through views made a lot of money, too.
Today, one can easily get pirated content just by scrolling online. Thousands of videos that usually cost PHP200 to PHP500 are now free to view with a simple click.
Implications of piracy
Legitimate film makers, creative producers, and content producers lose money due to piracy. They are forced to produce low budget products and services as they expect reduced revenues from this negative consumer behavior. Even investors are becoming increasingly reluctant to fund Philippine content production. Hence, workers in the industry are losing jobs opportunities.
Additionally, the expectation of piracy also leads producers and creators to take fewer risks. This results in the oversaturation of popular narratives, which takes away the creativity of the industry. This is especially true with independent filmmakers who already encounter difficulties in financing their creative projects. They have to compete against large companies with huge resources.
The country’s culture of piracy depreciates the hard work and passion of the creative industry. It lessens the motivation and resources to put out quality work. Independent producers find it difficult market to break into the creative industries market.
Large producers might drive a hard bargain before they release their content in the Philippines, where piracy abounds. Some increase the prices of their products, while some prioritize other countries over the Philippines in releasing their products, to the consternation of consumers.
Addressing the piracy issue
There are three main solutions to piracy in the Philippines. Firstly, the Intellectual Property Code should be amended to include policies about site-blocking illegal streams to decrease the accessibility of pirated content. A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University showed that consumption of pirated content significantly decreases once popular pirating sites are blocked.
Secondly, the country could negotiate with social media platforms that have a high rate of piracy incidence to enforce stricter guidelines and surveillance on content released from and to the country.
Lastly, piracy is an undesirable activity. By creating widespread awareness of the detrimental impacts of piracy and by implementing strict government policies, we can pave the path toward a future where creativity is nurtured.
Epifanie Gutierrez is a Third Year Student from Lyceum of the Philippines University – Manila taking up an AB in Foreign Service and an Intern at AmCham Philippines. Her email address is email@example.com.