Copyright is the legal right of an owner of literary, artistic, or intellectual creations to publish, disseminate, display, and perform their work, or authorize others to do the same.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines defines copyright as “the legal protection extended to the owner of the rights in an original work.”
It delineates “original work” as every production in the literary, scientific, and artistic domain. Literary and artistic works enumerated in the IP Code include books and other writings, musical works, films, paintings and similar works, as well as computer programs.
Among the most frequently asked questions about Philippine copyright are:
Who can claim a copyright?
Every originator of a piece of creative, scientific, or technological work has automatic copyright ownership.
In the case of artistic or literary works, the copyright belongs to the work’s original author.
In case of joint ownership, copyright is granted to the co-authors, subject to the rules of co-ownership. If parts of the work can be differentiated, each author will be given copyright over the parts they have authored.
In case of work created during a person’s employment, the copyright shall belong to:
- The employee – if the creation of the work has nothing to do with the employee’s regular duties even if the facilities, materials, and time of the employer were used.
- The employer – if the work created resulted from the regular duties of an employee, unless an agreement to the contrary is presented. Only the author and their designates can claim copyright.
Does a work need to be registered before it is infringed upon?
No. All types of works are protected from the moment of creation regardless of their mode or form of expression, as well as of their content, quality, and purpose.
Why do I need to register my work if I am automatically deemed the copyright owner?
While registration is not mandatory, it is required before a copyright can be legally enforced. A copyright has to be registered before legal action can be taken against infringement, including a demand for compensation.
How can I register a copyright?
Copyright owners can file a certificate of registration personally or by mail at the Copyright Division of the National Library and the Supreme Court Library. Visit this page for official rules, guidelines, and requirements.
How long is a piece of work protected by copyright?
The copyright for both original and derivative works lasts during the life of the author and for 50 years after their death.
Where can I find copyright laws in the Philippine Constitution?
Republic Act 8293 is otherwise known as The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
Benefits of getting a copyright attorney
A copyright attorney is a legal professional who is specially trained and licensed to practice intellectual property law and protect your work from unauthorized use.
In an age when almost anything and everything can be found and freely shared online, a copyright attorney can help you stop the illegal dissemination of your work online or in the physical world.
Your legal counsel will also save you the trouble of dealing with paperwork, quickly register new copyrights, keep track of existing ones, manage expirations, renewals, and more.