ABS-CBN warns consumers vs pirate domains; $40-M lawsuit filed in US

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ABS-CBN Corp. warned consumers on Wednesday not to access its content through pirate domains, noting that it had already filed a $40-million lawsuit against 40 pirate domains in the United States.

“Beware of pirate domains, especially clicking on them. They usually contain malware which can substantially infect your computer,” Elisha Lawrence, ABS-CBN assistant vice-president and head of global anti-piracy, said in an e-mailed statement.

She added, “Watch our content on safe legitimate services such as ABS-CBN’s OTT platform iWantTFC and the TFC channel on all major cable and satellite providers.”

The media and entertainment company said it filed a $40-million lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against 40 pirate domains that are allegedly pirating its content and infringing on its copyrights and trademarks.

“The Court recently issued a preliminary injunction against these 40 pirate domains to take down the domains with a serving notice,” it said.

In the Philippines, copyright infringement is punishable under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2021 or Republic Act No. 10175, which states that “penalty to be imposed shall be one degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.”

Under the Intellectual Property Code or Republic Act No. 8293, copyright infringement is punishable by imprisonment of one year to three years and a fine ranging from P50,000 to P150,000 for the first offense; imprisonment of three years and one day to six years plus a fine ranging from P150,000 to P500,000 for the second offense; and imprisonment of six years and one day to nine years and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1,500,000 for the third and subsequent offenses. — Arjay L. Balinbin