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Cybersquatters face jail time in the Philippines

Kevin Murphy, January 30, 2012, 12:56:28 (UTC), Domain Policy

Cybersquatting is about to be criminalized in the Philippines, and you’re not going to believe the penalties.

Squatters could face six to 12 years in jail if found guilty under Senate Bill 2796, which has reportedly just been approved by the country’s Senate.

Six years is the minimum term, but the bill does allow for an alternative punishment of a 500,000 peso fine, which works out to about $12,000.

That’s 300,000 pesos more than the fine for hacking, newly criminalized by the same bill, which also carries a six-to-12-year prison sentence.

Here’s the definition of “cyber-squatting” from the bill, courtesy of BlogWatch.tv:

The acquisition of a domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a domain name is:

i. Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration

ii. Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of a personal name; and

iii. Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it

The bill also provides prison sentences for what the local media is calling “cyber sex”, but which appears to cover internet pornography in general.

A companion bill in the House has to be approved before the law hits the statute books.

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