What is copyright?

Copyright is the legal protection extended to the owner of the rights in an original work.

When is a person entitled to a copyright?

A person to be entitled to a copyright must be the original creator of the work. He must have created it by his own skill, labor and judgment without directly copying or evasively imitating the work of another. (Ching Kian Chuan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. 130360, 15 August 2001)

Who are considered owners of the copyrightable works?

The owners of original literary and artistic works are:

  1. The author of the work;
  2. If the work is of joint ownership:
  3. The co-authors are the original owners;
  4. The author of each part is the owner of such part he/she created, if the work consists of parts that can be used separately.
  5. If the work is created in the course of employment:
  6. Employee is the owner, if the work created is not part of employee’s regular duties even if he uses the time, facilities and materials of the employer;
  7. Employer is the owner, if the work created is the result of the performance of employee’s regularly-assigned duties, unless otherwise agreed upon.
  8. If the work was commissioned, the one who commissioned the work jointly owns it with the author/creator – but the copyright of the work remains with author/creator, unless otherwise agreed upon;
  9. In the case of audio-visual work, the copyright belongs to the producer, the author of the scenario, the music composer, the film director, and the author of the work adapted.
  10. With respect to letters, the copyright belongs to the writer, subject to the following:
  11. Letters and other private communications in writing are owned by the person to whom they are addressed and delivered, but the same cannot be published or disseminated without the consent of the writer or his heirs.
  12. However, the court may authorize the publication or dissemination if the public goods or the interest of justice so requires.

What is the duration of copyright protection?

Copyright protection for artistic, literary and derivative works lasts during the lifetime of the author plus 50 years after the author’s death.