To share or not to share?

There has been quite a buzz lately about the seemingly innocuous use of “CTTO” (credits to the owner) and sharing of intellectual property works on social media.

It happened after one press conference in June where Deputy Director General Ted Pascua, DDG Nelson Laluces and I underscored the need to seek permission from the original creators before sharing content online, noting that not doing so could be a violation of the original creator’s copyright.

Of course, some people were shocked and did not see the sense in it. They pointed out that the ultimate challenge with this policy is that photos or memes have their way of going viral without proper attribution to the owner; hence, the resort to CTTO.

We at Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, of course, are not blind to these challenges. We are also aware that even if an IP rights holder requests for his or her work to be taken down, there is the risk of the violation to reoccur through a different account or even platform.

The online world is truly a new realm that puts current IP enforcement techniques to the test.

To address the confusion and help educate the public, IPOPHL had published answers to eight common questions about CTTO. (See:
Here, we stressed that sharing is encouraged. It helps our creators expand their target horizon. But in doing so, we have to use the share button on Facebook or retweet button on Twitter so that the new set of audience would know the original source of the content.

People are thrown into the dark as to the original creator only when we download and upload the photo or copy and paste a text to make it look like it was our own.

IPOPHL has also been clarifying misconceptions about IP even in the physical world where confusions remain to be prevalent.

Last 19 August, in celebration of World Photography Day, IPOPHL answered a new set of common questions about photographic works. (See:
Photographic works, like any literary copyrighted work, allow authors to enjoy a set of moral and economic benefits. Only difference is that photographic works enjoy these benefits for 50 years after the publication of the work or, if unpublished, after their making. This duration is shorter than the general protection term of the lifetime of the author plus 50 years.

In our guidance, we emphasize that photographers always own the copyright over their works, except if they shoot the photo as part of their regular duties as an employee. For commissioned works, photographers still maintain their copyright over their works unless expressly stipulated otherwise in the contract.

So, photographers hired for an event still maintain copyright over their works and must be recognized for the shoot but, again, unless the photographer agrees to transfer all his copyright over the photos.
While for some these ways of decorum may seem too small to make an impact, they can mean so much to the Philippine creative community.

There may be several pleasures we enjoy today that are for free. But if enjoying them tramples on people who shed blood and sweat for these works, it is time to reflect deeper on our values as a people.

Just take it from the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that backed the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers versus a restaurant owner. The restaurant owner defied paying for musicians’ royalties for playing music in his restaurant using the radio.

But citing United States jurisprudence, the top court said playing copyrighted music through radio broadcasts is considered a performance, thus, eligible for collection of royalties through FILSCAP, which handles such collection.

There may be several pleasures we enjoy today that are for free. But if enjoying them tramples on people who shed blood and sweat for these works, it is time to reflect deeper on our values as a people and how best we can express our respect for these values. It may come in as simple an act as sharing the right way of using CTTO.

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