[Mirror] Paran, Ronnie Bryll Jr.

SY 2012-2013, First Semester

The effect of Data Privacy Act of 2011

After having gone through the impeachment of former Chief Justice Corona, and hearing all the “too-good-to be-true” speeches of the Senators, come now an act giving privacy to certain sensitive information which the Senators used to impeach the Chief Justice.

The Data Privacy Act of 2011 does not only protect the data, it limits the information that would be released about a certain personality. What happened to transparency? I thought that the President wants transparency? How come he signed this bill suppressing the information?

The Act provides for penalty in case of Breach of Confidentiality, where such breach has resulted in the information being published or reported by media. In this case, not only the responsible reporter but also the Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, President and Manager will be liable. In this case, who will willingly and bravely report the truth?

Obviously, the Act prevents the media from performing their task to deliver timely and accurate report to the public in view of the people’s right to know. In effect, it undermines the right of the people to information (Art. 3, Sec. 7) as guaranteed by the Constitution as well as the freedom of the press (Art. 3, Sec. 4). To limit what the people ought to know, is to suppress their right of being aware as to the reality of our country and our statesman.
While privacy of citizens should be protected, those who live in fear of transparency might circumvent this act and protect their personal interests to cover for the fortune they have amassed through graft and corruption and other crimes.

Legality of fan art in the Philippines

Fan art as defined in Wikipedia as “an artwork that is based on a character, costume, item, or story that was created by someon other than the artist.” Since the 70’s, fan art is already popular, and up to now, it’s becoming popular since the internet gives an easy access to works of artist from where fans can just easily copy and edit the same.

The question however is whether fan art is legal or not? Does it violate the copyright of the artist? or Is it just an exercise of the freedom of expression?

Based from the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, “Derivative works such as adaptations, and other alteration of literary or artistic work (amongst others) shall also be protected by Copyright. It shall be protected as a “new” work.” Looking back at the definition of a fan art, we can say or classify it as a derivative work. As such, it does not violate any copyright of the original artist, in fact, it is given a new copyright as a new work.

Also, it is a clear form of an expression of one’s idolatry or fancy about his or her favorite artist, movie etc. It is his idea expressed through transforming, enhancing, or creating something more than than what appears in the original. Since it is a form of expression, all the more that it is legal since the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to the freedom of expression.

It is well established then that fan art is not illegal but rather legal in its sense.

Legality of file downloading from the Internet

Is downloading files from the internet legal or illegal?

Most of us, Filipinos, would say that there is nothing wrong with downloading files such as movies, music, etc. from the internet, why? simply because, everyone’s doing it, and no one is being penalized from doing such thing.

The real question is, is it illegal to download files from the internet? If the file to be downloaded is one which is not copyrightable such as published materials on any idea, procedure, system method or operation, concept, principle, discovey or mere data, then it is not illegal. However, if it is a copyrightable material such as a music or a video, which are just two of the most popular files being downloaded everyday, then we have to think twice whether there’s any law being violated. Perhaps, what would seem to be illegal is if a person bought a certain file, say for example, a music from itunes then post it in their 4shared account so that everyone can download it for free, or if not for free at least for a cheaper price.

The law on copyright provides that only the owner of the copyright may dispose of his or her creation in any manner he or she so wishes, and most of the artists sell their work because it is where they earn their living. Now, the person who bought it from the artist, reproduce it and sell the same? Would that not be a violation of the owner’s copyright? Would that not constitute piracy? The buyer of such copyrighted material would then say, but I own this now..so I have every right to do what I want with it.

How about the internet sites such as torrents, 4shared, beemp3 etc. which hosts free downloading? While their intent is to share the files, the file itself however, is not meant “just to be shared or downloaded” because it is copyrighted. So, do they have any liability for containing such materials?

I personally think that dowloading is illegal, not only because it violates the rights of the copyright owner, but also it is unfair for those who download the same file for a price. The thing is, our country doesn’t have a concrete law that clearly defines and punishes the act of doing so. Thus, it is my deepest belief and conviction that a law be passed to address the issue. Not only will it protect the rights of the copyright’s owner, it will also create a fair ground for everyone.

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