OFWs can bring home more CDs, books: IPOPHL

by Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNNews.com

Posted at Feb 15 2013 09:28 PM | Updated as of Feb 16 2013 05:28 AM

MANILA - Overseas Filipino workers will be able to bring home more CDs, DVDs, and books from abroad under the proposed amendments to the Intellectual Property (IP) Code, a government agency said Friday.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), however, said the materials must be legitimate copyrighted works.

The IPOPHL, in a factsheet sent to media, said under Section 190.1 of the IP Code (Republic Act 8293), Filipinos are currently only allowed to bring to the Philippines up to  3 copies of copyrighted works in their personal baggage.

The agency said amendments to the IP Code removed this provision, which will allow OFWs and balikbayans to bring home more CDs, DVDs, and books.

"The deletion of Sections 190.1 and 190.2 in fact allows for religious, charitable, or educational institutions to import more copies, for as long as they are not infringing or pirated copies, so  that more Filipino students in the country may use such works," IPOPHL reiterated.

"Moreover, the IPOPHL has a very good working relationship with the Bureau of Customs, hence, there can be no misinterpretation of the real intention of the amendment in the Rules to be drafted by the Commissioner of Customs," it added.

The agency issued the statement following concerns raised by journalist Raissa Robles regarding the proposed amendments to the IP Code that now await President Benigno Aquino's signature.

These concerns prompted internet rights activists to urge Aquino to veto the proposed amendments.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said position papers of various groups opposing the amendments have been submitted to the Palace for consideration.

“Those are three concerns raised by people who are against those particular amendments. Those three are precisely the ones that we have given to the Office of the President, to the team that is reviewing it to see kung ano po ba ang basehan ng mga objections na ito,” Valte said.

The President received the amendments on January 29 and has 30 days to either veto the bill or sign it into law. Non-action from the President will make it "lapse into law."
"Hindi po ito revenue bill, hindi rin ito tariff bill. So hindi po ito pwedeng i-line item veto. So either the President vetoes it or he signs it or he lets it lapse into law," Valte said.