[Mirror] Tantoco, Jecylene

SY 2012-2013, First Semester


DATA PRIVACY ACT

Personal information is valuable and should be regarded like any other precious items. Therefore, it is important to preserve it. In some way or another, a person may give out his personal information for a purpose. While the purpose may be beneficial to him, it can cause trouble. He may have to think twice before supplying such information.

In June 2012, the House of Representatives and the Senate ratified the bi-cameral conference committee report which reconciled House Bill No. 4115 and Senate Bill No. 2965 otherwise known as the “Data Privacy Act”. This Act is intended basically to protect the integrity and confidentiality of personal data. It also aims to ensure that personal information in information and communications system in the government and in the private sectors are secured and protected and seeks to enhance the competitiveness of the Philippines in the international economy as a core for business process outsourcing (BPO) and promote consumer trust and user confidence in electronic commerce.

The Act also provides for the rights of individual on his personal information predominantly the regulation of collection of information from private or corporate individuals. Some entities obtain information that is already excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are collected and processed. For example, in purchasing a plane ticket on-line, the customer is required to indicate the home phone number when a mobile phone number and e-mail address have already been indicated.

Further, it is a very useful customer protection rule that indirectly prohibits selling personal data to unauthorized parties and protects it from abuse once they have been collected. There are instances when you receive a call from a stranger calling you by your name and asking if you want to apply for a credit card or insurance. This can be considered as unauthorized disclosure or acquisition of personal information which is now punishable under the said Act.

While this may bring a number of advantages to individuals, some companies, specifically those engaged in personal data processing, collection and storage, may find it costly to ensure that data is properly handled and maintained by training the staff and acquiring advanced equipment. Moreover, if a person steals or destroys your data, there is no way of getting the data back and it is often difficult to find the person who caused the damage resulting in a prolonged administration of justice.

Taking into account the pros and cons of the proposed bill, in my opinion, it is but logical and equitable to pass it into law. It may not totally eliminate the violators of the law but it may, at least, lessen the crimes committed relating to information and communication systems considering that accessibility to or usage of the internet and electronic devices is continuously growing in our country.


The Legality of Fan Art in the Philippines

Fan art refers to fan labor artworks by amateur artists for their fan creations.

Many copyright holders, for good reasons, endure fan art and even encourage it, but this should not be taken as complete freedom to do what the artists want with the original work. From a copyright holder’s viewpoint, fan art is usually not very detrimental. Fans create works that are openly recognized as non replacements for the original. Further, they are often seen as free advertisement without cost or effort on the part of the original author.

Is Fan art legal in the Philippines?

This is a question that gets asked a lot and warrants a thorough discussion.

In the Philippines, many amateur artists are fond of producing artworks derived from stories, characters, costume and collages which are widely popular and tolerated. In an artist’s mind, this may mean nothing but just a fan creation but legally speaking, this may cause a lot of trouble. While there is no jurisprudence yet in the Philippines involving conflicts between fan art creators and copyright holders, this does not necessarily follow that fan art is absolutely legal in our country.

The practice of fan art is common around the world but its legality may be qualified on a case to case basis, looking at the facts of the actual work.

Using the Fair Use Doctrine (under Section 185 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines), an artist may be justified from creating a fan artwork. This is a way of saying “Yes, I copied it but my excuse is so good and authorized by law.” However, this doctrine is intricate and volatile. Different intellectual property owners may have different ideas for what constitutes infringement, and what they deem as “fair”. What may be fair to one may not be fair to another.

Avoid possible legal disputes

In order to avoid possible legal disputes, fan art creators should have a set of rules to follow to preserve their symbiotic relationship with the original authors. Each artist should identify the potential legal issues and use good faith when assessing the risks and benefits associated with creating and selling art.

Create your own

As the saying of Herman Melville goes “It’s better to fail in original than to succeed in imitation.”

If you find assessing the potential legal issues on creating fan art too tedious and deadly, then it is better off that you create your own, wholly original work. Not only do you not have the threat of being sued, but you also have the right to exploit the works however you see fit. In this way, you have a better right over your own work and you don’t expose yourself too much on the possibility of infringement suits.


Anti – Online Piracy Act

INTRODUCTION

On line piracy is no different than stealing an object that belongs to another. It’s like stealing a money from another person’s wallet. The only difference is the means of committing it. While there is already an existing law which punishes the latter, there have been issues encountered in proposing a bill pertaining to the former.

STOP ON-LINE PIRACY (SOPA) ACT AND PROTECT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AC (PIPA)

In the United States, there are two (2) bills which aim to protect intellectual property and to increase enforcement of copyright laws. These are the Stop On-Line Piracy (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). These bills have been criticized and protested by various technology giants such as Google, Twitter, Facebook etc. on the ground that they restrict the right to free speech and violate the precepts of fair play and due process.

SOPA allows entire sites to be taken out of commission, without warning or opportunity for self-defense, even when infringing activity has yet to be proved. It could act on a perceived infringer simply on the basis of an accusation. Further, the deletion of a domain name takes down not only the infringing site but all other potentially non-infringing aspects of the site. For example, if a social networking site has one or two accounts that are being used for infringement, the entire site including the accounts of thousands of other users will be shut down. Such is a clear violation of the right to free speech. Most users will not be able to connect to others because the site is not anymore accessible. Moreover, if the user posts an infringing content in the website, the site itself could be penalized for violations committed by the user. These are the main sentiments of the major website companies. For them, the bill allows the internet to become collateral damage in fighting against online piracy which they deem unreasonable and unacceptable.

ANTI – ON LINE PIRACY BILL IN THE PHILIPPINES (HOUSE BILL NO. 6187)

Since online piracy has been rampant around the world, the Philippines has been developing a plan for a bill to combat online piracy. The much affected group of people by online piracy such as creators, artists, producers, songwriters and musicians do the lobbying in Congress. They claim to have been severely damaged and continue to incur greater losses due to online piracy.

Recently, House Bill 6187, known as “Anti-Online Piracy Act,” was filed by Buhay party-list Representatives Irwin Tieng and Michael Velarde. The bill is quite patterned to SOPA in the United States but with some modifications to acclimatize local situations.

The said bill prohibits and declares it unlawful for any person to make, in a manner not authorized by the copyright owner, copies of music recordings or films, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including but not limited to uploading, downloading or streaming. “Offering of goods or services, or providing access in a manner not authorized by the copyright owner, copies of music recordings or films, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including by means of download, streaming, provision of a link or aggregated links to other sites is also prohibited,”

One important point in the above provision is the inclusion of the word “streaming”. This could mean that, in effect, the bill could potentially block YouTube, Facebook, and other similar sites because you listened to a song or watch a video on it. Moreover, the websites are solely responsible for detecting and policing infringement which exposes them to uncertain and significant liabilities because of the users’ actions.

OPINION

In my opinion, while online piracy is really harmful to public particularly to entertainment industry, internet should not become a collateral damage in fighting piracy. It is a good thing that we are thinking of ways to combat it but we should not address it at the expense of repressing creativity and innovations. In the first place, the purposes of the websites are to connect people all over the world and express what people feel as well as provide convenience and faster dissemination of information. For me, the main responsibility lies on the internet users. We have to be mindful and cautious on what should be posted and what should be accessed. The users should be primarily liable for their acts. The websites may only be liable if they did not act upon any infringing content within a reasonable time despite notice from the copyright owners.

It is really alarming that our own entertainers including writers, singers, producers etc. have been victims of on-line piracy. It is sad to note that these people exert a lot of effort, time and artistic skills to come up with a unique work just to be copied and distributed by another person without them benefiting from their own work. How can we encourage our artists to produce quality and original works when nowadays, online piracy is becoming uncontrolled?

The Philippines has to come up with a law protecting the intellectual property rights of the owners but without restricting the right to free speech and due process. I understand that online piracy is not something which can easily be resolved but at least, through a proper law, it can be minimized and eventually, eliminated.

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2 comments
  1. bertmanalang said:

    Jes, HB 6187 is actually telling us that we stop using the internet. HB 6187 merely allows us (1) to turn on our computers but we must have to be careful not to touch, by any means or manner, the keyboard, (2) to wait for the advertisements to appear on the screen but we must have to be careful not to touch, by any means or manner, the keyboard, (3) to force ourselves to view and enjoy the advertisements appearing on the screen but we must have to be careful not to touch, by any means or manner, the keyboard, (4) and when we have finally strained our eyes, then we have to switch off our computers and be extra careful not to touch by any means or manner, the keyboard. Because by the slightest touch of the keyboard, the Great China Firewall will start tracking and monitoring your computer.
    By the way, you mentioned “. . . connect people all over the world.” Palagay ko infringement yon. Logo yon ng Globe!

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