Philippine Copyright Law
Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines is
officially known as Republic Act No. 8293. The Philippine copyright law is based on United
States copyright law and the principles of the Berne Convention for the Protection of
Literary and Artistic Works.
Philippine copyright laws, unlike other copyright laws,
also protect patents, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property.
Apart from Philippine copyright laws there are also other laws that protect copyrights,
like the Optical Media Act, which protects music, movies, computer programs and video
Copyright implementation is done with the coordination of
the Intellectual Property Office IPO and the Copyright Division of the National Library of
A: Literature (books, pamphlets, etc.)
B: Periodicals (newspapers, tabloids, magazines, etc.)
C: Public speeches and other public speaking works (speeches, lectures, sermons, etc.)
E: Television or movie scripts, choreography, and entertainment in shows
F: Musical works (lyrics, songs, song arrangements, etc.)
G: Art products (drawings, paintings. sculptures, etc.)
H: Ornamental designs and other forms of applied art (not necessarily industrial designs)
I: Geographical, topographical, architectural, and scientific works (maps, charts, plans,
J: Scientific and technical drawings
K: Photographs and cinematographic works made in a process similar to photography
L: Audio-visual works and cinematographic works made in a process similar to making
M: Pictures used in advertising (includes logos)
N: Computer programs
O: Other works not covered in classes A-N of a literary, scholarly, scientific, or
P: Sound recordings
Duration of copyright
The Intellectual Property Code sets the following for the duration of copyright protection
of different works in the Philippines:
Literary works (classes A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I, J, M, N, and O): lifetime of the author
and for 50 years after his/her death.
Applied art (class H) : twenty-five years from the date of creation.
Photographs (class K): fifty years from publication (published) or from creation
Audio-visual works (class L): fifty years from publication (published) or from the date of
Sound recordings (class P): fifty years from December 31 of the year which the recording
Broadcast recordings (class Q): twenty years from the date the broadcast took place.
Copyrights generally last 25 years for corporate works, which include product designs and
The Intellectual Property Code also protects pending copyrights by providing automatic
copyrights, a move similar to automatic copyright provisions in United States copyright
law, as stated in the code since provisions in the code provide for automatic copyright
once the work has been made.
Section 185 of the Intellectual Property Code provides for fair use of copyrighted
material is based on the United States fair use doctrine. Copyrighted work will be
evaluated based on the following:
The purpose of the usage of the copyrighted material to be classified as fair use
The nature of the copyrighted work
The amount or portion of the copyrighted work being classified as fair use
The effect(s) the copyrighted materials has or have on the potential market and the value
the item has to enriching the item of
which the copyrighted material is being classified as fair use
Even if a copyrighted work is unpublished, it can qualify as fair use under Philippine
Moral rights: Moral rights, which can be exercised by any copyright holders (individuals,
corporations, etc.), are enshrined in Chapter 10 of the Intellectual Property Code.
However, Section 193 of the code (which is also in Chapter 10), which also outlines a
copyright holder's moral rights, makes these rights independent of economic rights
outlined in Section 177 of the code.
Under Philippine copyright law, moral rights are relatively expansive on the behalf of the
copyright holder, which are listed below:
Attribution: The right to be prominently displayed as the creator of the copyrighted
material, in any form practical to the work The right to change or even withhold the
work from circulation
Integrity of ownership: The right to object to any
alteration detrimental to the name of the creator of the material. The right to
restraining the use of the creator's name in a work not of his making
Copyright holders are not allowed to be forced to create
or publish his or her works already published, as that could be classified as a breach of
contract. However, the copyright holder could also be held liable for breach of contract.
The Intellectual Property Code also permits the waiver of moral rights in most cases, but
does not allow it if the following situations occur:
If the creator's name will be used to damage the reputation of another person
If the creator's name will be used to give credit to something he or she did not make
Moral rights are automatically waived in collective works unless the copyright holders
expressly reserve their moral rights.
Also, if no objections have been made during the time a copyright holder waives his or her
moral rights or even if moral rights were waived unconditionally, works altered or even
destroyed would not constitute as a violation of moral rights.
In the Philippines, the term of moral rights, unless they were waived, is the same as the
term of copyright of a literary work (lifetime plus 50 years). Violation of moral rights
may also be contested as a violation of the Civil Code. Any damages collected under the
Civil Code shall be given to the copyright holder, or if the holder is already dead, be
put in a trust account to be given to the copyright holder's heirs. If the heirs
defaulted, the damages go to the government.
Ownership of copyright
Philippine copyright law expressly gives copyright ownership to the copyright holder.
Since Philippine law permits automatic copyright, a copyright notice is not needed.
Government copyright under Philippine copyright law is established in Section 176 and its
subsections. Under the section, all official Philippine texts of a "legislative,
administrative, or judicial nature" or any official translation of those kinds of
texts may not be copyrighted and are in the public domain.
Apart from government documents, no work of the Philippine government, as well as the
works of government-owned and/or controlled corporations, can be copyrighted (images,
documents, and the like). However, prior approval is needed if a government work will be
used for making a profit (most notably the Philippine constitution).
There are exceptions to the rule:
the author of any public speaking works may have the works compiled, published, and
copyrighted, and the government is permitted to receive and hold copyrights it received as
a gift or assigned. However, such copyrights may not be shortened or annulled without
prior consent of the copyright holder.
There are no provisions in Philippine copyright law on the issue of composite copyrights.
However, composite copyrights are permitted usually in the form of split copyrights, where
each part of a work is copyrighted, as in audio-visual works, sound recordings, and