A Call to Filipino Authors and Artists: Protect Your Works and Apply for Copyright!

Monday, February 09, 2015

Without a doubt, social media have become a viable platform for writers and artists to showcase their works. With just an Internet connection and a little bit of digital tinkering, people from all over the world can watch your videos, listen to your songs, see your photos, and read your words.

Now, I believe that all writers and artists want an audience. It doesn't matter what their "press release" is - e.g. they do it to express themselves and whatnot - but we all know that a writer isn't a writer without a reader. Same goes for all the other art forms. This is why the excitement that comes from the possibility of having an audience makes us a little impulsive. We can't wait to publish poetry through our blogs and upload original songs on YouTube. It's so easy that we don't stop and ask ourselves, "Is this wise?"

Practicality will tell you that it's not. The Internet had not only made it easier to bring our works out into the world, it had also made it easier for the opportunistic to steal and pass of our works as their own. It isn't just a coincidence that plagiarism have become so prevalent that even Senators are guilty of it. My point is, it is wise to have our literary and artistic works copyrighted. 

But in all fairness, Filipinos have been fairly honest in adapting online literary and artistic works and using them for commercial purposes. From what we're witnessing so far, creators have been properly credited and, I presume, properly compensated. Still, it's wiser to have your original works protected by law. Also, it gives a more substantial and technically-correct meaning to the usage of the symbol ©.

So, what is copyright?

"Copyright maybe defined as a form of intellectual property which protects the rights of authors and creators of literary and artistic works. It refers to the main act in which, in respect of literary and artistic creation, may be made only by the author or with his authorization. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, irrespective of their mode or form of expression, as well as their content, quality and purpose."

That's taken directly from the National Library website. Take note of the underlined. Your original works are protected by the sole fact that it is created.
Apply for Copyright
The National Library
Now, you ask, "How do we apply for Copyright?" These links give clear and detailed instructions on how to do so: National Library of the Philippines, and Form Philippines. The copyright application form can be downloaded from the former. 

Things to Remember
Registration fee now costs Php200.00 + Php15.00 worth of documentary stamps.
You can claim your Certificate of Copyright Registration and Deposit within thirty days.
The Copyright Division is located on the 4th Floor.
If you don't plan to hang around the National Library to read books or do research, just tell the guards you already have your library card. Because if you say that you don't, they'll automatically direct you to apply for one. Just in case, a National Library Card costs Php100.00.
Bring a valid ID for a Visitor's Pass.

How to Get to the National Library
The easiest and most convenient way is to take the LRT Line 1 and alight at UN Station. From here, you can take a tricycle or a pedicab to the National Library. Or you can just proceed to Kalaw Street and walk your way to the place like I did.
Copyright Philippines

Well, if you're a songwriter like me, why not protect your original songs by getting them copyrighted It's really cool. Trust me, I know. All rights of the song below are now officially reserved to me.

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