Nowhere (Copyright Law Reform)

September 27, 2013

I cannot fathom in its strongest terms why in the world would a UP student file an entry of a stolen photo in a photo essay contest and having it won afterwards. This shameless act was condemned and brought outburst by the public especially that of the UP community and netizens who might have been the one who discovered the plagiarized photo.
Same as the speech presented by one of our Senators who was accused of plagiarizing parts of his speech.
This brings me to a question about how visible the copyright law is when it comes to acts like these. Yes, I know that plagiarism is a serious offense but how come many people still commit errors when it comes to matters as this. Does the reform in Copyright Law touched on this particular area?

As I read through the amendments, I have noticed that several provisions have been removed and changed. Of particular is Section 190 which is Importation for Personal Purposes that received different opposing views because the old provision which includes a sub section 190.1.iNow, this section is completely new and thus opened to different interpretation because the Commission of Customs is given the authority to prevent the importation and exportation of Infringing materials. This appears to me as somehow vague and might be used by these appointed official to abuse their power to the detriment of the person’s right.The said provision should have set specific instances as to when a material to be exported or imported is infringing or not.

Another area that may be a point of argument would be the limitations on the fair use of academic materials. My view on the matter would be leaning more on the pro-students’ side because I am a student who , just like any other students,  cannot afford to buy pricey books so ending up photocopying some reading materials that needs to be studied for the next course meeting. But i for the record, respect the copyright owner of these books because the law is categorical that they are also entitled to economic rights and it would be totally unfair on their part if they cannot felt that they received this right fully. But an interesting statement thay I may inject from Larry Lessig’s talk is  when he said in his presentation that why can the cultural policies encourages them to create more for the love of work than for the money.

My only sentiment is that, students like me, when it comes to academic materials,books that is, should not be restricted as to how many pages may be allowed to have it photocopied. The Government should give more attention to this than amending provisions which are not that important. Fair use is conferred but it still has its limitations when it comes to academic purpose. Why cant the law provide more benefits for the students? Learning and everything that comes with it i believe is something that an individual should never be deprived of.

Plagiarism as mentioned earlier is a serious matter that also needs an urgent attention as it somehow imprints a negative image on one’s reputation but I have not seen any provision in the amendment that digs deeper into such area. i have to admit that it was only in college that i  embraced what plagiarism really means,its effects and its was only that time that I met Kate Turabian. Since then, I became more careful in acknowledging authors though I would not say that I have perfectly mastered this skill because I know for a fact that I also commit lapses from time to time  like forgetting technicalities like the format but never will I ever write or claim something that I do not own. Intellectual theft is something that should not be taken for granted and should be taken seriously.

With the  advent of social media, people can easily express themselves through posting on their wall on facebook or tweeting for instance. But as I observed, a lot of people commit this wrongdoing by not acknowledging or citing the author for example of a quote that they posted and claiming it as their own as if they created those quotes.and that irks me everytime I see someone posting a quote or expression when we all know that he/she just copied it from another without citing those. Two possible theories that I could think of: one, they would like to somehow impress others that by posting it without any reference given, it would give an impression that they created it, thus intellectuals , or two, they know nothing about copyright. I would like to think that the reason is the latter. And if such is the case, is it about time that our government include pertinent areas related to academics of the copyright law in all the schools’ curriculum? Particular mention would be plagiarism. Because in my elementary and highschool years, I cannot remember that my teachers mentioned anything about this( or it might be because that was a very long time?) what Im trying to drive at is for them to have a deeper understanding when it comes to this matter since this will be brought by them as they proceed to higher level in education. This would give them a firm foundation and will be to their advantage. in fact, one determinative factor as to how a student have learned for the past 3 years and  before graduating is writing a paperwork called the thesis.

But how about those that have complete knowledge of the law but still,chose to commit it? will this reflect the sharpless penalties provided for by law?It can be, and if such be the case and for the several times that people tend to commit these errors, why cant the law provide a harsher sanction instead? The Chilean embassy  in the stolen photo might have said that nothing has changed with regard to their view and respect on Filipinos, but I highly doubt because for me it only increases and adds up to the other major government issue we are facing now.thirst for power acquired ilegally will get you nowhere.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions are of the author’s  alone and does not represent the views of the bar.

Works Cited

An  Act Amending Certain Provisions Of RA 8293 otherwise known as the “INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES”, And for other purposes. Retrieved, September 24,2013. Retrieved, September 24, 2013.

i Section 190. Importation for Personal Purposes. – 190.1. Notwithstanding the provision of Subsection 177.6, but subject to the limitation under the Subsection 185.2, the importation of a copy of a work by an individual for his personal purposes shall be permitted without the authorization of the author of, or other owner of copyright in, the work under the following circumstances:

(a)    When copies of the work are not available in the Philippines and:

(i)    Not more than one (1) copy at one time is imported for strictly individual use only; or

(ii)    The importation is by authority of and for the use of the Philippine Government; or

(iii)    The importation, consisting of not more than three (3) such copies or likenesses in any one invoice, is not for sale but for the use only of any religious, charitable, or educational society or institution duly incorporated or registered, or is for the encouragement of the fine arts, or for any state school, college, university, or free public library in the Philippines.

(b)    When such copies form parts of libraries and personal baggage belonging to persons or families arriving from foreign countries and are not intended for sale: Provided, That such copies do not exceed three (3).


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