Rules on Ownership of Copyright

Copyright ownership is governed by the following rules:[1]

In general: author of the work

Subject to the rules hereunder, copyright belongs to the author of the work in case of original literary and artistic works.[2]

Joint Authorship

In the case of works of joint authorship, the co-authors are the original owners of the copyright, and in the absence of agreement, their rights will be governed by the rules on co-ownership. If, however, a work of joint authorship consists of parts that can be used separately and the author of each part can be identified, the author of each part is the original owner of the copyright in the part that he has created.[3] 

During employment

In the case of work created by an author during and in the course of his employment, the copyright belongs:[4]

  1. To the employee, if the creation of the object of copyright is not a part of his regular duties even if the employee uses the time, facilities, and materials of the employer.[5]
  2. To the employer, if the work is the result of the performance of his regularly-assigned duties, unless there is an agreement, express or implied, to the contrary.[6]

Commissioned work

In the case of a work commissioned by a person other than an employer of the author and who pays for it and the work is made in pursuance of the commission, the person who so commissioned the work will have ownership of the work, but the copyright thereto will remain with the creator, unless there is a written contrary stipulation;[7]

Audiovisual Work

In the case of audiovisual work, the copyright will belong to the producer, the author of the scenario, the composer of the music, the film director, and the author of the work so adapted.[8]

However, subject to contrary or other stipulations among the creators, the producer will exercise the copyright to an extent required for the exhibition of the work in any manner, except for the right to collect performing license fees for the performance of musical compositions, with or without words, which are incorporated into the work;[9] to the employer, if the work is the result of the performance of his regularly-assigned duties, unless there is an agreement, express or implied, to the contrary.[10]

Written Letters

In respect of letters, the copyright belongs to the writer subject to the law thereon.[11] The employer owns the copyright, if the work is the result of the performance of his regularly-assigned duties, unless there is an agreement, express or implied, to the contrary.[12]

Best Legal Practices:

Stipulate on contract regarding ownership – To settle any doubt on ownership and to avoid any controversy thereon, the contract should clearly stipulate therein as to who will own the copyright of the work.

Rules on anonymous and pseudonymous works

In Intellectual Property Code, the publishers are deemed to represent the authors of articles and other writings published without the names of the authors or under pseudonyms, unless the contrary appears, or the pseudonyms or adopted name leaves no doubt as to the author’s identity, or if the author of the anonymous works discloses his identity.[13]

 

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[1] Ibid. Section 178.

[2] Ibid. Section 178.1.

[3] Ibid. Section 178.2.

[4] Ibid. Section 178.3.

[5] Ibid. Section 178.3 (a).

[6] Ibid. Section 178.3 (b).

[7] Ibid. Section 178.4.

[8] Ibid. Section 178.5.

[9] Ibid. Section 178.5.

[10] Ibid. Section 178.5.

[11] Ibid. Section 178.6 cf. Article 723, Civil Code.

[12] Ibid.

[13] INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE. Section 179.