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Pinoy Bloggers in Uproar over potential NTC meddling

As PTB’s resident lawyer, I feel the need to say something about the issues that had bloggers like MLQ3 and fellow PTB guys Mike and Yuga up in arms.

First, a hat tip to The Unlawyer for breaking down the issues succinctly.

Reading the draft NTC memorandum circular, one portion got my radar up. Actually two portions of the circular’s coverage raised my alert level. For registration and payment, the draft circular will cover, among others:

  • Information service ““ includes all types of information delivered to/accessed by the users/subscribers, e.g. road traffic information, financial information, visa application information, etc.
  • Content and Program service ““ includes all types of contents delivered to/ accessed by the users/subscribers such as music, ring tones, logos, video clips, etc.

A strained interpretation of this coverage (which is the exception and not the general rule in this part of the world) may place blogs as information and content of program service providers.

Take for example my personal blog. Technically, I deliver an information service, specifically, legal information, through my blog lectures to the users (or even subscribers, if they do so through RSS readers, etc.).

Then as regards the other non-legal entries in my blog (or any blog for that matter), I could be considered a content provider (since content has been conveniently defined to cover virtually everything).

So technically, I’m providing value-added services, whether I’m making money from my blogs or not (and I can assure you, I’m not and I still have a day job).

The money aspect is secondary. The registration aspect cuts through privacy issues. Will this circular force us bloggers into the virtual mountains, as in anonymous blog land? Or will this circular bring as back to the dark ages, when we used to put out deepest thoughts and feelings on (shudder…) a diary?

So IMHO, there’s really some basis for the uproar… and these guys are begging for lawsuits…

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  • what about that? man, i’m just your plain old sophisticated student in his teens and how in the world am i able to pay for such? i have utmost respect to government and society. Why now? When cyberspace has flourished? Where will the money go? Pockets of these people who run a giant Antenna? There is something fishy about this and i have full support for the blogging community to protest against the ntc’s infidelity. Bring this to the courts if you must. We’re watching.

  • Hint for the nth time: “GMA’s Supa (Super) Regions”

  • Hold on and calm down, this is not as draconian as it sounds.

    As far as the NTC is concerned, Value Added Services == Paid Services. Cabarrios meant “paid content.” While this is not explicitly stated in the NTC document, they don’t say they care about free content or services either.

    I think the Manila Times writer who read the article put his own interpretation (like the Yahoo! part). I think that’s what led to the blog interpretation.

    What I think the NTC wants to charge are those in the “underground economy” (not licensed with the NTC) offering Internet services, like web hosting and domain registration, and subscription to services. They are already (supposed to be) doing this for mobile VAS providers and they want to the extend it to the Internet.

  • I was at a meeting and some lawyer asked the director of CERN why they didn’t patent/copyright/IP-stamp the www when Sir Tim Berner’s Lee made it available to the public.

    Naturally, he was shouted down.

    Lawyers with nothing to do are evil…

  • Well, I hope it’s “paid” services, then. Because if we only consider anything that makes money on the net, even Google AdSense-enabled blogs are fair game.

  • One thing I learned a little early in my government dealings is the big difference between what they say and what they do… so prudence dictates we do not take this issue that lightly…

  • If ever this will begin, I think it will just be ningas cogon.

  • well maybe thats the reason anonymity is preferable… as for me, im only online for fun….

  • gee where did my comment go? anyway, as i was saying, its better for us bloggers to remain anonymous. we may not be nokor or cuba, but our country still has a twisted view of democracy. as for me, im just here for fun….

  • Looks like someone is trying to cash in on the blogging craze. What else can you expect from our rotten government? Maybe the NTC budget got raided for Team Tuta’s campaign expennses?

    I think we should basically give the NTC the finger and wait for them to try to take someone to court for nonpayment of their ridiculous registration charges.

  • One month later, what happened?