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A Conference on Media Piracy and Intellectual Property in South East Asia
Sponsored by the Goethe Institut, Manila, and the UP Film Institute

Date: November 24, 2006, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, UP Film Institute, University of  the Philippines, Diliman, Metro Manila, CMC Auditorium, Plaridel Hall

Programm Participants Proceedings Links Index

9:00 – 9:30
Welcome remarks
Anne De Guzman, Director, UP Film Institute
Volker Avenmarg, Director, Goethe Institute, Manila

9:30 – 10:15
Keynote and Introduction

- The United States of Piracy – Introduction and Keynote
Dr. Tilman Baumgärtel, UP Film Institute

In this introduction to the conference, I will discuss piracy as one of the most prominent issues of the “digital millennium”. In an age, where all information that has been stored in digital form, can be transmitted globally and reproduced indefinitely, the pirates are taking this genuine property of digital data to its extreme. Global entertainment piracy is a complex issue with important economic, political, cultural and theoretical consequences. In my talk I will look at piracy as a social, cultural and economic phenomenon. And I will discuss piracy in relation to new concepts of addressing ownership of Intellectual Property, such as Creative Commons and Open Source.

10:15 – 12:00
Piracy and IP matters in the Philippines

- A Clash of IP Cultures 
Roberto Verzola, programmer and political activist, Manila

The copying of copyrighted or patented material without permission is often described in moral terms as an act of "stealing", "theft", "piracy", etc., implying that such act violates the accepted norms of morality of a society. The author argues that in many societies, those who copy without permission are simply acting according to the accepted norms of their own culture. The pressure, mostly from U.S. and Europe, on these societies to adopted strict IPR rules therefore an imposition of one culture over another. The author further suggests that cultures which considering copying a moral act are still widespread in many countries, including the United States. The nature of information, the author concludes, is in closer harmony with these cultures than cultures that impose strict IPR protection.

- Piracy and Collective Creativity: Creative Commons Philippines

JJ Disini, UP Law School

Digital issues on the Internet abound. Copyright owners fear that massive piracy on the Internet will erode their business and spell the end for the entertainment industry.  On the other hand, there is an explosion of creativity on the Net from blogs to folksonomy to software production.  In the face of these developments copyright law has had to compensate but whether it will be successful remains to be seen.  In the meantime, the focus on stemming the tide of piracy has kept policymakers from focusing on the Net's ability to solve some of copyrights more pressing problems.

Open Forum

Repondent: Raul Pertiera, Asian Center, UP Diliman/ Ateneo, Manila

12:00 – 1:00
Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30
Piracy and globalization 

- Free Culture!
Dr. Volker Grassmuck, Humboldt Universität, Berlin

Economics teaches that information is a public good. This theoretical fact comes to full bearing when information is set free from its physical carriers. The digital revolution has put the means of distribution of information goods into the reach of virtually everyone. Published digital information is ubiquitous and abundant.

Looking at it from a public goods perspective, it is clear that in the digital age control and restriction are not feasible, at least not at a reasonable price to privacy and media-autonomy. The challenge then becomes to encourage creativity and foster solutions to the million Peso question: how to make money with free bits.

The talk will focus on different approaches to this challenge. From the primary model inspiring the free culture movement that of free software, to the classical solution in economics literature and statistic practice, taxes. It will look at the rise of Nigerian
Nollywood, now the third largest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood, without any IP law enforcement, and at the grey economics of Baile Funk in Rio de Janeiro. It will retell how in France file sharing nearly became legal in exchange for a copyright flatrate
and how Swedish Pirates on the high seas of the Internet are reclaiming the right to share.

- Piracy and Its Regulation:  Filipino’s Historical Response to Globalization
Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino, National University Singapore/ University of the Philippines Film Institute

Power Point of this presentation

The Philippines’ entry to globalization historically has always prefigured the pirates and its activity, piracy, as inimical to legitimate claims of participation in the world capitalism.  This paper traces the historical response of Filipinos, specifically Muslims, in piracy.  By being designated as pirates, Moros were emplaced in orientalist racial profiling of the “bad” colonial subject.  The state’s creation of the image of the Moro-as-pirate remains integral in the marginalization of this religious ethnic group or the exacerbation of the “Moro/Mindanao” problem as integral in official nation-building. In more recent times, however, by pioneering media piracy in key cities in the country, Filipino Muslims were also excelling in their stereotypical role as their niche participation in Philippine capitalism.  The attempt to regulate piracy, therefore, is also the nation-state’s attempt to regulate Moro identity and to expound on Filipino Muslim citizenship.  My contention is that media piracy is a creative and critical response of Filipino Muslims that allow them to maneuver into the homogenizing cultural politics of the Philippine nation-state and neoliberal globalization.

Respondent: Tilman Baumgärtel

Open Forum

2:30 - 5:00
Piracy and the Arts

- Piracy and digital arts
Cornelia Sollfrank, artist, Hamburg

Collecting societies as well as commercial owners of intellectual property rights often argue with artists being the victims of piracy. But it is time to rethink this image. A growing number of artists themselves uses pre-existing digital material to create new works, and the invention of new techniques of reworking and artistic appropriation constantly produces new aesthetics. And this puts artists in a different kind of trouble: Instead of suffering from piracy, they suffer from the copyright regime. Cornelia Sollfrank investigates the very diverse systems art and law and produces work right at the often absurd - interface of both: copyright law.

- Intellectual Property/Media Piracy and It's Permutations in the Arts
Raymond Red, film-maker, Manila

As an artist and filmmaker, the passion in creating is as intense as the need to protect our creation. We value and respect intellectual property rights, and yet it has been a long tradition in the arts itself to engage in a kind of "piracy" or re-use of artistic elements that one either "borrows", "appropriates", "revives", or even pay "homage" to. From traditional visual arts to print advertising, from experimental filmmaking to music videos and television commercials, purists and commercial artists practice the use and re-use of previous creations, the act of which borders on plagiarism, and yet defies the thin line that separates it as “appropriation" or even creating an "homage" to the original artists of the said borrowed creations. By presenting some examples of motion pictures and graphic works, I would attempt to define the true ideals behind such practices and to try to clarify the true intent of artists which would set them apart from the true pirates and thieves.

- This is not a found footage film by Khavn
Khavn de la Cruz, film-maker, Manila

Khavn de la Cruz will present a brief found footage film made especially for this conference.

Respondent: Fátima Lasay, artist, Manila

Open Forum