The University of the Philippines Sigma Rho Fraternity presents: “Crossroads: At the Intersection of Law and Society” (Part 2: Law and the Digital World) today Oct. 25, 2020 1pm-5pm via Zoom Manila time

Topic: “Regulating Online Streaming Sites and Its Implications”
3:30pm-4:00 pm via Zoom Manila time for the forum
“Crossroads: At the Intersection of Law and Society”
(Part 2: Law and the Digital World)
today Oct. 25, 2020

Preliminary Question: Does the MTRCB have jurisdiction to regulate online streaming sites?
Pertinent provisions below:

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 1986 (CREATING THE MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD)

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WHEREAS, the movie and television industry has been beset with manifold and multifarious problems accented by its nebulous stance towards the Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television reorganized under Executive Order No. 876-A;
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         (Jurisdiction)
Section 3. Powers and Functions. – The BOARD shall have the following functions, powers and duties:
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b) To screen, review and examine all motion pictures as herein defined, television programs, including publicity materials such as advertisements, trailers and stills, whether such motion pictures and publicity materials be for theatrical or non-theatrical distribution, for television broadcast or for general viewing, imported or produced in the Philippines, and in the latter case, whether they be for local viewing or for export;

(DEFINITION OF TERMS UNDER THIS LAW)

“Section 10. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall mean:
   “1.Motion Picture

 

A series of pictures projected in a screen in rapid succession, with objects shown in successive positions slightly changed so as to produce the optical effect of a continuous picture in which the objects move, whether the picture be black and white or colored, silent or with accompanying sound, on whatever medium and with whatever mechanism or equipment they are projected, and in whatever material they are preserved or recorded for instant projection, for the purpose of this Act, the material in which the motion picture is contained, preserved, or recorded, forms an integral part of the motion picture subject of this Act.”

    NOTES: This is the same provision quoted and cited by the MTRCB Chair to say that her agency has jurisdiction to regulate the content shown on Netflix and other video streaming apps.

    It is the correct provision but it is being quoted without understanding the text and context. Using textual (the words of the law) and contextual analysis (socio-historical: its enactment in  1985 or the so-called analog age), it is evident that: “Motion Picture” as used in this law and by the words of the law itself, is that which isprojected in a screenand “on whatever medium…they are projected…” Projected in a screen means with the use of a projector. Here is what a “projected in a screen” and “projector” mean (textually and contextually):

The plain and common definition of a projector: :”object that is used to project rays of light, especially an apparatus with a system of lenses for projecting slides or film onto a screen.” (Oxford Dictionary). 

In other words, it makes us of literal rays of lights in order to literally shine or beam an image by using the light that passes thru a slide or negative, creating shadows and shapes and images which, when shown successively in thousands of fast-moving frames, create the illusion of movement. 

(images from various PSA sites, used here non-commercially for academic purposes)
    “2.Television Broadcast – Public showing by transmitting sound or images by television or similar equipment, including cable television, and other limited audience distribution.
“3. General Viewing – Making motion pictures available to general public for its viewing through convenient film packs or similar materials sold, leased, or lent in commercial outlets, public lending clubs, and similar…”

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c) To approve or disapprove, delete objectionable portions from and/or prohibit the importation, exportation, production, copying, distribution, sale, lease, exhibition and/or television broadcast of the motion pictures, television programs and publicity materials subject of the preceding paragraph, which, in the judgment of the board applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard, are objectionable for being immoral, indecent, contrary to law and/or good customs, injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines or its people, or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of wrong or crime, such as but not limited to:

i) Those which tend to incite subversion, insurrection, rebellion or sedition against the State, or otherwise threaten the economic and/or political stability of the State;

ii) Those which tend to undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their government and/or the duly constituted authorities;lawphil.net

iii) Those which glorify criminals or condone crimes;

iv) Those which serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence or pornography;

v) Those which tend to abet the traffic in and use of prohibited drugs;

vi) Those which are libelous or defamatory to the good name and reputation of any person, whether living or dead; and

vii) Those which may constitute contempt of court or of any quasi-judicial tribunal, or pertain to matter which are sub-judice in nature.

Provided, however, That deletions or cuts must not be made on the master negative of the films, and that such master negative shall be deposited with the Film Archives of the Philippines and shall be released for export purposes to the film owner only upon showing of the proper export permit; Provided, finally, That the film owner shall execute his own undertaking that such master negative shall be exclusively used for export purposes and not for local showing;

To supervise, regulate, and grant, deny or cancel, permits for the importation, exportation, production, copying, distribution, sale, lease, exhibition, and/or television broadcast of all motion pictures, television programs and publicity materials, to the end that no such pictures, programs and materials as are determined by the BOARD to be objectionable in accordance with paragraph (c) hereof shall be imported, exported, produced, copied, reproduced, distributed, sold, leased, exhibited and/or broadcast by television;

d) To classify motion pictures, television programs and similar shows into categories such as “G” or “For General Patronage” (all ages admitted), “P” or “Parental Guidance Suggested”, “R” or “Restricted” (for adults only), “X” or “Not for Public Viewing”, or such other categories as the BOARD may determine for the public interest
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Section 10. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall mean:

1.Motion Picture – A series of pictures projected in a screen in rapid succession, with objects shown in successive positions slightly changed so as to produce the optical effect of a continuous picture in which the objects move, whether the picture be black and white or colored, silent or with accompanying sound, on whatever medium and with whatever mechanism or equipment they are projected, and in whatever material they are preserved or recorded for instant projection, for the purpose of this Act, the material in which the motion picture is contained, preserved, or recorded, forms an integral part of the motion picture subject of this Act.

2.Television Broadcast – Public showing by transmitting sound or images by television or similar equipment, including cable television, and other limited audience distribution.
3. General Viewing – Making motion pictures available to general public for its viewing through convenient film packs or similar materials sold, leased, or lent in commercial outlets, public lending clubs, and similar organizations.
4. Non-Theatrical Distribution –
a) Public showing of long and short motion pictures through the use of mobile projection equipment not imposing admission fee.

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