REDWOOD CITY, CA, September 25, 2012 – “Piracy is wrong.”
There is no ifs and buts about it. Philippine Optical Media Board (OMB) Chair Ronnie Ricketts explained it in simple terms: “Since we were students, we’ve been taught not to copy what is not ours – quiz and homework answers, ideas, projects and the like. That is essentially what piracy is – copying what is not yours. In school, we call that cheating. In life, we call it stealing. It is plainly and simply morally wrong. It also happens to be illegal.”
Hence, OMB recently partnered with ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel (TFC) for an awareness campaign on anti-piracy. Aligning with Ricketts’ battlecry of “Bawal Kumopya” (literally translated as “Copying is prohibited”), TFC tapped the cast of its top-rating primetime teleserye, “Walang Hanggan”, who willingly gave their time and effort to the production of the “Bawal Kumopya” public service announcement. Coco Martin, Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta, Julia Montes, Paulo Avelino and Joem Bascon all joined hands (and crossed their arms) in a united front for the war against piracy.
The “Bawal Kumopya” PSA was launched at the One Kapamilya Go sa California’s Great America held last September 16. Before 10,000 people, the video was unveiled, with Adobo Nation’s co-host Lee Robin Salazar and WBC Latino Flyweight and Super Flyweight Champion Glenn Donaire with his family and management introducing the campaign and enjoining all to remember the campaign’s battlecry. The campaign launch, the PSA and “Bawal Kumopya” t-shirts were huge hits at the event. The campaign has aired globally on TFC and will be rolled out in various TFC events around the world.
The OMB, which replaced the Videogram Regulatory Board (VRB), is responsible in regulating the manufacture of optical media in all its forms and has the power to slap stiffer fines and penalties to those who illegally reproduce those products. Since Ricketts took office as the new head of OMB in 2009 under the Office of the President, he has achieved several key milestones in the battle against piracy. This includes what was previously described as impossible: seizing in 2011 all copies of pirated videos on sale on the streets of Quiapo and Sta. Cruz – the symbolic piracy hub of the Philippines. In partnership with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, they proved that fighting film and video piracy is a winnable war if national and local government officials have the political will to end it.
Another major achievement under Ricketts’ leadership is zero piracy of films showcased at the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), a Christmas season tradition that families had enjoyed and contributed financially to the benefit of the Filipino film industry. Since 2009, he has accomplished a piracy-free film festival which resulted to robust theater attendance and ticket sales for the festival.
Ricketts was lauded by the film industry, receiving the FPJ Memorial Award from the Film Academy for Movie Arts & Sciences (FAMAS) in recognition for his efforts. He has also been assigned a star in the Walk of Fame in Eastwood City.
This strong leadership and resolute commitment to eradicate piracy and, in effect, help the economy and the film industry, inspired the ABS-CBN TFC management of to assist the efforts of Ricketts and bring his message to Filipinos overseas.
In a related development, on September 14, 2012, ABS-CBN Corporation and Star Cinema filed with the Philippine Department of Justice the complaints for copyright infringement against Ogie Villamil as owner and operator ofwww.nabimovie.com. The National Bureau of Investigation’s Computer Crimes Unit (NBI-CCU) raided Villamil’s internet shop and residence in San Fernando, La Union province last July for alleged copyright infringement, specifically copying illegally, recording and uploading online for public viewing mostly TV programs and films from media network ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc.
Check out the OMB-TFC “Bawal Kumopya” public service video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?