Copyright law of the Philippines

Philippine copyright law is enshrined in the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, officially known as Republic Act No. 8293. The law is partly based on United States copyright law and the principles of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Unlike many other copyright laws, Philippine copyright laws also protect patents, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property.

Copyright Division of the National Library of the Philippines.

There are also other laws that protect copyrights: the Optical Media Act (which protects music, movies, computer programs, and video games) is an example of such.

The law is enforced through a body established by the law: the Intellectual Property Office, or IPO, and its various branches. Copyright implementation is done with the coordination of the IPO and the Copyright Division of the National Library of the Philippines.


The Intellectual Property Code splits works that may be copyrighted into 17 classes, listed from A to Q. While all the classes listed are specifically for copyrighted material, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property, depending on what it is, are covered as well. Patents do not have a category.

Fair use

Section 185 of the Intellectual Property Code provides for fair use of copyrighted material. The criteria for fair use is almost identical to the fair use doctrine in United States copyright law, with the exception that even unpublished works qualify as fair use under Philippine copyright law.

Moral rights

Moral rights, which can be exercised by any copyright holders (individuals, corporations, etc.), are enshrined in Chapter 10 of the Intellectual Property Code. However, Section 193 of the code (which is also in Chapter 10), which also outlines a copyright holder's moral rights, makes these rights independent of economic rights outlined in Section 177 of the code.

Under Philippine copyright law, moral rights are relatively expansive on the behalf of the copyright holder, which are listed below:

Copyright holders are not allowed to be forced to create or publish his or her works already published, as that could be classified as a breach of contract. However, the copyright holder could also be held liable for breach of contract.

The Intellectual Property Code also permits the waiver of moral rights in most cases, but does not allow it if the following situations occur:

Moral rights are automatically waived in collective works unless the copyright holders expressly reserve their moral rights. Also, if no objections have been made during the time a copyright holder waives his or her moral rights or even if moral rights were waived unconditionally, works altered or even destroyed would not constitute as a violation of moral rights.

In the Philippines, the term of moral rights, unless they were waived, is the same as the term of copyright of a literary work (lifetime plus 50 years). Violation of moral rights may also be contested as a violation of the Civil Code. Any damages collected under the Civil Code shall be given to the copyright holder, or if the holder is already dead, be put in a trust account to be given to the copyright holder's heirs. If the heirs defaulted, the damages go to the government.

As the country is a party to the Berne Convention, Philippine copyright law expressly gives copyright ownership to the copyright holder automatically for creative works which fit in one of the categories.

Government copyright under Philippine copyright law is established in Section 176 and its subsections. That section specifies that no copyright shall subsist in any work of the Government of the Philippines. However, it also specifies that prior approval of the government agency or office wherein the work is created is necessary for exploitation of government works for profit.[2]

There are exceptions to the rule: the author of any public speaking works may have the works compiled, published, and copyrighted, and the government is permitted to receive and hold copyrights it received as a gift or assigned. However, such copyrights may not be shortened or annulled without prior consent of the copyright holder.


  1. pascual, matthew (2000). Sutccida. Lucban,Quezon: Pascual.
  2. "Republic Act No. 8293" (PDF). Congress of the Philippines. June 6, 1997.
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