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Filipinos show strong interest to learn more about IP, importance of copyright

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When the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) came to Manila last June 23 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) also took part in the return of the massive book sale.

Amidst enthusiastic book readers going through piles of books at the PICC Forum Tent, IPOPHL’s Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights (BCRR) was conducting copyright seminars and addressing intellectual property (IP) questions and concerns at its booth during the 11-day event. 

Filipinos, willing to learn about IP 

During the two seminars—one on the basics of copyright and another on copyright issues on AI-generated works—participants included a mix of authors and writers, as well as members of the general public. 

“It’s not only writers and publishers but also families with children who took the time during their weekend to learn about copyright at our seminars. This goes to show that our people are always willing to learn about IP if you provide them with the opportunity,” said BCRR Director Emerson G. Cuyo. 

“That’s why we’re always finding new events to reach and educate the public about copyright even if it’s one reader at a time,” Cuyo added. 

Among the questions raised by the participants, particularly during the seminar on AI, were how to determine an AI-generated image and what is the copyrightability of a work if it is partly generated by AI and a human. IPOPHL explained that AI-generated works are not copyright protected under the current copyright regime since only natural persons can be considered authors. 

Furthermore, copyright in works that are partially AI-generated protects only those parts that are created by natural persons. IPOPHL relies on the declarations of the creator claiming copyright on which part of the work is AI-generated and which is not.

Meanwhile, the IPOPHL booth received 34 inquiries from visitors, ranging from IP current issues to general IP topics. Inquiries about current issues involved the Philippine entertainment industry, while others asked general questions about copyright, patent and trademark. 

A majority of the inquiries were on how to register their copyright with IPOPHL and the requirements. To address these, BCRR staff attending the booth briefed visitors on the copyright registration procedure and advised them to submit their applications online via the website as IPOPHL only accepts physical registration of applications under exceptional circumstances. 

Copyright filers only need to fill out the registration form, pay the filing fees, and submit a copy of their work. The requirements for registration may be found here

Linking reading appreciation and copyright awareness

IPOPHL’s partnership with BBW is rooted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed by both parties in December 2019. The MoU combines BBW’s goal of cultivating a reading culture among Filipinos together with IPOPHL’s aim of raising copyright awareness among authors, publishers and the general public. 

The first collaboration between IPOPHL and BBW happened in February 2020—or just before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown—with IPOPHL setting up a booth and inviting indie artists to perform at the event. 

Director General Rowel S. Barba lauded the renewal of the IPOPHL-BBW ties after the three-year hiatus. 

“By enlisting our reading culture to advocate for IP awareness at recent and future Big Bad Wolf sales and upcoming events like this year’s Manila International Book Fair and the National Book Development Board’s Philippine Book Festival in the regions, we can ensure that the copyright of authors is upheld even as more writers will be encouraged to produce literary works in the future. This will go a long way in contributing to a more robust creative economy for our nation,” Barba said.

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