PH IP protection steps up, best practices on FB, Instagram revealed

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By Alithea De Jesus

Given the growing number of cases of piracies in the net about contents, photos and videos, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, together with Facebook and Instagram initiated a dialogue with FB & rights holders on how they can work together against counterfeiting & piracy.

With this, the rights holders from various sectors have gained more knowledge on how to best protect their intellectual property (IP) rights on Facebook and Instagram, following a seminar jointly organized by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the owner of the platforms, Facebook, Inc., itself.

Titled, “Empowering the IP Owners: IP Violation Reporting and Takedown Tools,” the July 15 workshop gathered some 100 participants who gained better understanding on Facebook’s IP policies, current anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy efforts, and its suite of takedown tools to help them more effectively enforce their rights across the two most popular social media platforms today.

Facebook’s IP Group encouraged IP rights holders to enrol into its specialized IP protection platforms, the Commerce & Ads IP Tool and the Rights Manager Tool, which allow a more efficient and robust reporting of content, profiles or pages that infringe on their trademarks and copyrighted works, respectively. 

Alessandra de Rosa, IP lead counsel at Facebook, emphasized that the social media giant has a “zero-tolerance policy” on IP infringement, but admitted this does not translate to “a zero occurrence of infringement” due to various challenges.

In fact, Facebook was the top platform for suspected counterfeit and piracy activities in 2020 when IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) received a record high of complaints and reports. Of the 121 counts last year, Facebook accounted for over 50%.

“Our measures are not perfect and we are facing a variety of challenges when we try to set up these measures and do more to tackle infringement on our platform,” de Rosa said, noting technology and resource-related limitations as among the main challenges. 

She added that the IP Group is ceaselessly working to find the delicate balance between protecting rights holders and enabling legitimate content to thrive. 

“We want our users to engage on the platform, to share what they love, what they think… to connect with people with similar interests and opinions. So we really want to make sure that as much as we want to talk about content, our measures… do not limit the ability for users to engage legitimately on the platform,” De Rosa added. 

Proactive takedown and education

De Rosa assured rights holders that Facebook “really invests heavily in our machine learning and technical capabilities to make sure that infringing content is caught even before a rights holder is able to see it or report it to us.”

Facebook’s latest transparency report on IP showed that the majority of takedowns were done without a hand from rights holders. According to the report, almost 100% and 82% of counterfeit takedowns, respectively on Facebook and Instagram, were removed proactively during the second half of 2020. On piracy, this stood at 78% and 59%.

However, Facebook recognized that there remain certain bad actors that go undetected, therefore the need to continuously improve its text and image-recognition capabilities in accurately finding suspicious signals. 

De Rosa added that part of this effort is engaging with stakeholders to know emerging infringement trends in their industries and set their algorithms to anticipate these trends. 

The recent webinar with Facebook is part of IPOPHL’s “Empowering IP Owners Workshop Series” to help rights holders optimize online tools that effectively protect their IPs at scale – the first was held with Google and Youtube in May last year.

“The fight against online counterfeiting and piracy is among the top priorities of IPOPHL,” Teodoro C. Pascua, IPOPHL Deputy Director General, said.

“The Office, through its IEO, has been active in referring IP violation reports and engaging with brand owners. This event is another testament that we are proactive in empowering the rights holders to further promote and enforce IP rights especially in the online arena,” he added.