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Copyright 101: What aspiring content creators need to know about protecting their works

By AYIE LICSI Published Aug 04, 2022 6:25 pm

We live in a day and age where anybody can create content. With a smartphone, you can shoot photos and videos, edit, upload, and watch them serve their purpose, whether that's to entertain or inform. However, the job doesn't end when you press publish—you must learn how to protect your work so it's not used without your permission.

Any original material, such as literary and artistic works, is protected by copyright. You wouldn't want someone else earning from your work, right?

As Atty. Rico V. Domingo told PhilSTAR L!fe and other members of the press who attended the Ballet Philippines' Masterclass on copyright and intellectual property, "If you're not able to protect what you own, you own nothing."

Fret not, wannabe content creator, here are some important things you need to know about copyright.

First things first, copyright is defined as a type of intellectual property protecting your ownership over an original, tangible work. This includes art such as music, songs, photos, choreography, videos, graphic designs, and more.

Any original work of yours is protected by copyright from the moment of creation.

According to the Intelectual Property Code of the Philippines, creators are entitled to a bundle of rights including economic and moral ones.

Under economic rights, creators have the exclusive right to authorize or prevent the reproduction, adaptation, and public distribution of their work. Meanwhile, moral rights grant you the license to require attribution, make altercations, object to modification or distortion, and restrain the use of your name on your creation.

The ownership of the copyright goes to the work's author.

Content creators have the rights mentioned above over their videos, photos, music, etc. The only time this shall not be the case is when the original work is made for hire. For instance, if a company employs you to create a video, the copyright goes to them if it's part of your regularly-assigned duties.

In the case of commissioned works, the person who commissioned it shall have ownership unless there is a written contract stating otherwise.

Copyrighted work can still be used legally without an owner's permission under the Fair Use doctrine.

Fair Use of copyrighted work applies when it's used for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, research, and other similar purposes.

So let's say you want to want to review a TV series or a film for TikTok or YouTube, it's okay to do so under the Fair Use doctrine. In the same vein, your work can be used without your permission under the same circumstances. 

How do you deal with copyright infringement?

In case you found someone violating your copyright, intellectual property firm Federis says that you can file a criminal case for copyright infringement against the violator. This must be done at the court in the city or municipality where the violation was committed.

If proven guilty, the offending party will be punishable by imprisonment for one to six years plus a fine ranging from P50,000 to P1.5 million, depending on the frequency of the offense. They may also have to pay civil damages, while their infringed goods may be subject to seizure, impounding, or destruction.