IPOPHL Issues New Guidelines On Copyright Limitations

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) released its Guidelines on Statutory Fair Use to provide awareness and clarity of the principles on limitations on copyright under the Intellectual Property (IP) Code.


Fair use pertains to acts which, when committed by a user of a copyrighted work, would not constitute copyright infringement even without obtaining a license or permission from the copyright owner under certain factors.


While the general principle of fair use is embedded in Section 185, Chapter VIII of the IP Code, the newly released guidelines discussed other provisions in the same Code which describe specific acts, referred to as statutory fair use, which do not violate the owner’s intellectual property rights.


The statutory fair use guidelines were made by the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights (BCRR). According to BCRR Director Emerson Cuyo, “Fair use makes sure that copyright holders are also not left powerless in the provisions of fair use. As a government agency that upholds a commitment to innovation, we make sure the laws are here to protect the works of right holders. However, we also want to ensure that the development of the creative industry is not stifled by restrictions.”


The guidelines, divided into three parts, deconstructed the acts enumerated in the IP Code into its essential elements with explanations and examples to help users who might find themselves in one of the situations described therein.


The first section of the guidelines discussed statutory fair uses, or acts that limit copyright protection, which are mentioned in Section 184 of the IP Code. These include private recitation or performance of a work, reproduction or communication to the public by mass media, recordings made in educational institutions, ephemeral recordings,  public display, use in judicial proceedings or by a legal practitioner, and specialized reproduction for the visually impaired, among others.


The second part tackled fair uses under Section 184 of the IP Code which  require the further application of the general fair use principles under Section 185. These include quotations from a published work, illustrations for teaching purposes, use by the Government or by educational, scientific or professional institutions.


The third portion expounded other specific statutory limitations on copyright that can be found in Sections 186 to 189 of the IP Code, such as work of architecture, private reproduction, reprographic reproduction by libraries, and reproduction or adaptation of computer programs.


The guidelines also emphasized that a non-finding of fair use under any of the aforementioned provisions due to the absence of one or more of the elements will not preclude a finding of fair use under the general fair use provision in Section 185 of the IP Code.


“If, despite the guidance offered by the Guidelines, one is still in doubt, err on the side of caution. Obtain permission,” BCRR Director Cuyo said.


The full press release can be accessed here. The Statutory Fair Use Guidelines may be requested for download through this link.

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