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The Economic Impact of Copyright Infringement in the Philippines

The Economic Impact of Copyright Infringement in the Philippines
On April 28, 2010, the Supreme Court, through Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo,
decided against the petition of Filipino comfort women to get a public apology and
reparation from the government of Japan.1However, it was not the decision that caused a
public stir. Del Castillo lifted quotes and footnotes from three materials written by legal
experts abroad, without due citation.2Del Castillo committed plagiarism.
This case is a glaring fact that plagiarism, or copyright infringement, in general, is a
mutating disease. The Supreme Court is supposedly the holiest hall where justice and
morals are upheld above the rest, yet, its purity is tainted with an act of plagiarism. What
else can go wrong elsewhere? How rampant can this be outside the Court?
Copyright infringement, which includes plagiarism, is known to exist from the moment we
learned how to put our ideas into tangible objects. Ideas are not exclusive but when they
are expressed, they are subject to terms of ownership. Our Philippine law, through R.A.
No. 8293, the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, grants exclusive economic and
moral rights to copyright owners.3 Violation of any of these rights constitutes copyright
infringement. From January to September 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of the
Philippines (IPOPHL) received 135 reports concerning intellectual property violations.
Fifty-one (51) of these reports cover copyright infringement.4
Vinuya v. Romulo, G.R. No. 162230 (S.C., Apr. 28, 2010) (Phil.)
Rufo, Aries C., SC Justice Plagiarized Parts of Ruling on Comfort Women, ABS-CBN News, (Jul. 19,
2010, 12:26 AM), https://news.abs-cbn.com/nation/07/18/10/sc-justice-plagiarized-parts-ruling-comfortwomen
Sec. 177, Sec. 193
Intellectual Property Violation Reports, (Nov. 26, 2020)
The exploitation of creative works is happening beyond these recorded figures. Although
the number is considerably low in comparison to other penalized offenses, its effect on the
economy is nevertheless existent. By itself, the literary and artistic domains contribute to
our national economy. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)
recognized the contribution in their book, Bilang Filipinas, A Primer on Philippine
Cultural Statistics, which attempts to quantify the arts and break its notion as an informal
sector despite its considerable contribution to economic well-being. With infringement, the
economic potential of these copyrighted works might diminish. This is the goal of the
paper. This paper is aimed to determine how the commission of such offenses affects the
Philippine economy.
Copyright infringement in the Philippines is so prevalent that people tend to overlook the
extent of its effect. Aside from its criminal implications, we should also consider its effect
on the economy.
The notion of copyright infringement being sole of a criminal nature should not be limiting
us to delve into its economic effects. The rising industries involving copyright paved the
way for a greater tragedy that accompanies it, should violations equate. This study will
determine the impact of such violations in light of the economy. Furthermore, the result of
such would enable stakeholders to scrutinize related policies in the protection of said right
and penalty to the violations thereof.
1. What offenses are covered by copyright infringement?
2. How does the economy substantially affected by copyright infringement?
The methodology of this research involves the examination of the acts covered by
copyright infringement by the provisions of related laws. The available data regarding
copyright violations are also analysed using the inductive method of economics.
The study primarily focuses on the relationship between copyright infringement and the
economy. This paper will include the cases formally filed in IPOPHL and exempt acts that
were not. The time being of constraint, the study will not determine the impact from this
writing henceforth.