[Mirror] Polines, Jonas

Summer 2011

Full-Body Scanner

An Analysis

The human body is, if not all the time, often regarded as the personal temple of the individual. This is an ideal upbringing which many citizens of today have undergone in their early stages, one way or another. Another equally important advocacy in honing a person is his sense of social obligation – giving aid to those who are in peril, subjecting himself for the protection of more.

Are these values compromising each other? A conflict would not be impossible as there are massive possibilities of interaction as the world gets smaller and smaller through technology. For someone who is receptive to new ideas, it would not be surprising to know that persons should be on guard all the time because technology will never have its peak.

A full-body scanner is a device that creates an image of a person’s nude body through their clothing to look for hidden objects without physically removing their clothes or making physical contact. They are increasingly being deployed at airports and train stations in many countries. This term as defined and provided for by Wikipedia.com is one of the wonders of present-day technology.

Are citizens of the international community ready for this? Technology-wise, there is no doubt. How about moral-wise?

Our laws are not without extensive provisions on privacy be it personal or about property. The same can be given more gravity on chastity. Our laws do not bypass, they even highly consider, what is publicly moral. This question on privacy is of a moral character therefore what is being trespassed is not merely any Constitutional nor Statutory but that of an INHERENT RIGHT. Inherent rights cannot be waived.

Nudity. Imagine yourself stripping off to nudity as a protocol. First, the anxiety. Second, the possibility of being jeered up, or even abused during the process. The risks do not stop there. What if the still pictures leak? This is being ”spoken of” by an Asian male person. Imagine women from Islamis countries?

On the other hand, we often subject ourselves – whatever it takes – to professional touch. If the doctor says we strip, we do automatically and without hesitations. Can we feel the same in aviation processes and at ports? For the protection and betterment of all?

What better way to reconcile this? The answer, I recommend, should be entrusted to technology just the same. If full-body scanners can do the impossible of searching behind the clothes of individuals, it would be petty for it to detect the illegal. No human interventions needed for the unnecessary attention. Technology must also be the one to troubleshoot the smuggled articles so people, especially women should not be under the eyes of living people.

If not, then they might as well regulate the authorities. A licensure proceeding for the full-body scanner staff can come in handy.

PUBLIC SCULPTURES – Treatment on Their Copyright Protection

Under the umbrella of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines is the Philippine Copyright Law. More officially known as Republic Act No. 8293, the law is partially patterned after the United States Copyright Law and the doctrines of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

As such, works that can be copyrighted are classified. Sculptures fall under the Art Products Category alongside Drawings, Paintings, and the likes. Now, how do we treat sculptures? No doubt that they have a copyright protection, the infringement of which corresponds to a legal action and sanction. The conflict lies as to when is there infringement of the Copyright of sculptures. The area of concern focuses more especially on sculptures and buildings erected in public spaces.

Is photographing landmark sculptures and buildings an infringement of their copyright protection?

It is not an untold story that during the Martial Law, there were reported cases of the Cultural Center of the Philippines randomly being photographed. During that time, this was automatic infringement and many were apprehended. These regulations may have already been superseded by the succeeding transitory administrations, but this is a clear indication that our Copyright law was protective of public sculptures and edifices – even if the infringement does not come from direct creation of a replica but even through simply taking a picture of the object.

Digging into the ownership and purpose of public sculptures, it would not be hard to initially conclude that photographing them is not an infringement. Ownership differs. It does not follow that the copyright owner is necessarily the owner of the artwork itself. In copyright law, ownership of a copyright in a work is distinct from the ownership of the copy or the tangible item. Hence, their private nature is debatable.

As to their purpose, public sculptures exist mainly for public use. They would be nothing but muted self-contradicting icons if they would later on shout “foul” with a frown against thundering lights of camera flashes.

Earlier speaking of Martial Law in passing, a related and pertinent example of the combination of ownership and purpose is the image of Our Lady of Queen of Peace which was sculpted in bronze. Its late artist Virginia Ty-Navarro, did not put up the work in private and personal initiative, capacity, and funding. The same was for the commemoration of the success of the EDSA People Power Revolution. In fact, the very same spot it is situated has only been donated and primes in the convergence of the two main roads – EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. It has become the site of the Eucharistic celebration held each year to commemorate said People Power Revolution therefore it is for the public to see, stay at, and take a picture of (or with).

Sculpture and Photography, though intimately related as to Arts, are not synonymous. Their meanings are not interchangeable. Sculpture is the art of carving, cutting, or hewing wood, stone, metal, etc., into statutes, ornaments, etc., or into figures, as of men, or other things – it is therefore the art of producing figures and groups, whether in plastic or hard materials. Photography on the other hand is the art, science, and practice of creating pictures by recording radiation on a radiation-sensitive medium, such as a photographic film, or electronic image sensors.

Therefore, If a photographer photographs a public sculpture or edifice, the owner still owns the rights to the sculpture, but the photograph is the photographer’s intellectual property and has all the same protections as the owner of the sculpture does. This falls under the heading of “derivative works,” which are perfectly legal. If, on the other hand, someone were to make duplicate casts of the sculpture and attempt to sell them without the owner’s authorization, then that would be a clear violation of his copyright. Similarly, if the owner of the sculpture were to take the photographer’s photo of his sculpture and reproduce it without the photographer’s permission, he’s be violating the latter’s copyright, even though his sculpture is the subject of the photo. It is the expression of any original work that is protected, not the underlying idea.

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