Protection of Copyrights in Philippines


The Philippines has laws and policies that generally support a conducive intellectual property (IP) environment, but enforcement is irregular and inconsistent. Several considerations are important for effective management of intellectual property (IP) rights in the Philippines. First, it is important to have an overall strategy to protect IP. Second, IP may be protected differently in the Philippines than in the United States. Third, rights must be registered and enforced in the Philippines under local laws. For example, U.S. trademark and patent registrations will not protect rights holders’ IP in the Philippines. There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. The Philippines is a member of several international copyright treaties and conventions and offers copyright protection to foreign works in accordance with these treaties. The Philippines Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL) maintains a registry of patents and trademarks that is widely recognized in Southeast Asia.

Protection of Copyrights in Philippines[Image Source: iStock]

Copyright shall belong to the author of the work for original literary and artistic works. For works with joint ownership, all the authors will be recognized as original owners. In the absence of agreement, their rights shall fall under the rules of co-ownership. In the case of works whose author per part can be identified, the author of each part shall be considered as the owner of the copyright in that respective part. If the object of ownership is not a part of the regular duties of the author, the employee shall get the copyright even if he/she used the time, facilities, and materials of the employer. If the work is an output of the author for his regularly-assigned duties, the employer shall get the copyright unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

A copyright is the legal protection extended to the owner of the rights in an original work. Original work refers to every production in the literary, scientific, and artistic domains. The Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL) is the leading agency responsible for handling the registration and conflict resolution of intellectual property rights and to enforce the copyright laws. IPOPHL was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines which took effect on January 1, 1998, under the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos.

Works covered by the copyright law are (1) literary and artistic works and (2) derivative works. On the other hand, works not protected by the copyright law are (1) unprotected subject matter and (2) works of the government.

According to Section 172 of the Intellectual Property Code,literary and artistic works refer to the original and intellectual creations protected from the moment of their creation.
The list of literary and artistic works includes the following: Books, pamphlets, articles and other writings, Periodicals and newspapers, Lectures, sermons, addresses, dissertations prepared for oral delivery, whether or not reduced in writing or other material form, Letters etc.

According to Section 173.2 of the Intellectual Property Code, derivative works are defined as new work provided that they do not violate any subsisting copyright upon the original work employed or any part thereof, or to imply any right to such use of the original works, or to secure or extend copyright in such original works.

The list of derivative works includes the following: Dramatizations, translations, adaptations, abridgements, arrangements, and other alterations of literary or artistic works and Collections of literary, scholarly or artistic works, and compilations of data and other materials which are original by reason of the selection or coordination or arrangement of their contents.

According to Section 176 of Republic Act 8293, no copyright shall be applied in any work of the Government of the Philippines. To exploit such works for profit, prior approval from the government agency or office should be made. Such agency or office may impose payment of royalties. It is not required to seek prior approval or conditions for the use for any purpose of statutes, rules and regulations, and speeches, lectures, sermons, addresses, and dissertations, pronounced, read or rendered in courts of justice, before administrative agencies, in deliberative assemblies and in meetings of public character.

This allows a creator to ask for or obtain payment for the use of their work by third parties.[6] According to Section 177 of the Law of Copyright, these rights consist of the right to allow, impede, or carry out the following by the author: Replication of the work, or a portion of the work; Transformation or dramatization of the original work; The first public distribution of the original work and each copy of the work; Rental of the original work, or copy of the work embodied in any form, including audiovisuals, cinematography, sound recordings, computer programming, or graphic work, regardless of ownership of the original work; Public display of the original or copy of the work; Public performance of the work and Other communication of the work to the public.

Under fair use, the use of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticizing, commenting, news reporting, teaching, creating researches, and other similar purposes is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made is under fair use, the following factors should be considered: The purpose of the use, including it is of a commercial nature or for non-profit purposes; The nature of the copyrighted work; The amount and sustainability of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole and The effect of the use to the value of the copyrighted work.

Given the mentioned rules and regulations above about copyright, reproduction of different materials, without the permission of the author, are still allowed given that they are done for reasons allowed by the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Provided here are the reproductions and purposes allowed by the law.


Under Philippine law, original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain are copyrightable. These include books, pamphlets, articles and other writings; periodicals and newspapers; lectures, sermons, addresses, dissertations prepared for oral delivery; letters; dramatic or dramatico-musical compositions; choreographic works or entertainment in dumb shows; musical compositions; drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, lithography; models or designs for works of art; original ornamental designs or models for articles of manufacture; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches, charts and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science; drawings or plastic works of a scientific or technical character; photographic works including works produced by a process analogous to photography; lantern slides; audiovisual works and cinematographic works and works produced by a process analogous to cinematography or any process for making audio-visual recordings; pictorial illustrations and advertisements and computer programs.

Author: Tanya Saraswat, a student of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to or at  Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney.

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