Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FILCOLS position paper on the proposed Quezon City Book Deposit Ordinance

As an interested party, FILCOLS position paper on the proposed Quezon City Book Deposit Ordinance introduced by Hon. JulienneAlyson Rae V. Medalla, City Councilor, District II and Hon. Alexis R. Hererra,City Councilor, District I

May 30, 2012

Hon. Julienne Alyson Rae V. Medalla

City Councilor, District II

Quezon City

Hon. Alexis R. Hererra

City Councilor, District I

Quezon City

Subject: FILCOLS Position Paper on the Proposed Quezon CityBook Deposit Ordinance

Dear Honorable City Councilors Medalla and Hererra:

The Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc. (FILCOLS)requests that the proposed Quezon City Book Deposit Ordinance be amended toexclude the right to photocopy the books of affected publishers for widedistribution in Quezon City.

We agree with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (UDHR) which state "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinionand expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions withoutinterference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through anymedia and regardless of frontiers."

We laud the honorable councilors in their desire to makeavailable books "to the public through city libraries and publicelementary and high schools." We appreciate "the tax incentiveequivalent to fifteen percent (15%) of the tax imposed under Section 28,Article 12, Chapter IV of the Amended Quezon City Revenue Code."

In exchange of the tax incentive, the proposed Quezon City BookDeposit Ordinance asks QC-based publishers to furnish three (3) copies of theirprinted books and "to grant the City Library limited authority tophotocopy" to ensure adequate availability to all the congressionaldistricts of Quezon City.

We agree thatQC-based publishers may donate books to libraries and schools as part of theircorporate social responsibility. But the proposed photocopying of books ona massive scale and for wide distribution will affect the business ofpublishers. Loss in sales for publishers means loss in royalties for authors.Low sales will also affect the livelihood of employees who are mostly residentsof Quezon City. The proposed photocopying of these books without properauthorization may violate the rights of authors, especially if the publisher doesnot have the mandate from the copyright owners.

Article 23.3 of the UDHR state "Everyone who works has theright to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family anexistence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by othermeans of social protection."

Also, Article 27.2 of the UDHR state "Everyone has theright to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from anyscientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author."

The authors, as the creators of works, sign a contract with thepublishers to assign their rights. Under the Intellectual Property Code of thePhilippines (IP Code), the authors' copyright or economic rights are the rightof reproduction, transformation, distribution, rental, public display, publicperformance, and other communication to the public. (RA 8293, Chap. V).

Some authors may assign the right of printing and distributionfor a limited period of time and for a limited number of copies. Some authorsmay assign the transformation of the work to other entities. But not allauthors assign their reproduction rights to their publishers.

The Berne Convention, where the Philippines is also a party to,recognize the exclusive right of the author to authorize or prohibit thereproduction of the work "in any manner or form." According to theWorld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) "the right of reproductionis often said to be the cornerstone of copyright."

Admittedly there are limitations or exceptions to thereproduction right of the author, "It shall be a matter for thelegislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of suchworks in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does notconflict with the normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonablyprejudice the legitimate interests of the author." (Berne Convention,Article 9.2).

Our own IP Code allowed limitations for "the use made of awork by or under the direction or control of the Government, by the NationalLibrary or by educational, scientific or professional institutions where suchuse is in the public interest and is compatible with fair use." (RA 8293,Chap. VIII, Sec. 184.h).

We believe that public interest is in the hearts and minds ofthe honorable councilors. But to determine if the use of the work is fair, weshould also consider "the effect of the use upon the potential market foror value of the copyrighted work." (RA 8293, Chap. VIII, Sec. 185.d).

The normal exploitation of the work and the legitimate interestsof the author are principles adhered to by the WIPO-administered Agreement onTrade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement, Article13) and the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT, Article 10). All of which were signedby the Philippines.

As the national reproduction rights organization (RRO), FILCOLSreceived the mandate from 539 authors, 35 publishers and one book industryassociation to manage their reproduction rights. FILCOLS was formed in 2008through the joint efforts of the Book Development Association of thePhilippines (BDAP), the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL),and the National Book Development Board (NBDB). On the international level,FILCOLS is a member of the Brussels-based International Federation ofReproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO).

We humbly suggest to the honorable councilors not to rush withthe passing of this ordinance but to conduct a multi-sectoral consultation withprivate and government agencies like the IPOPHL, NBDB, BDAP, Unyon ng mgaManunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL), Linangan sa Imahen Retorika at Anyo (LIRA),Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting (KUTING), Ilustrador ng Kabataan (INK), CaviteYoung Writers Association (CYWA), Siyudad ng Antipolo Arts Guild (SINAG),Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT) and the Freelance Writers Guild of thePhilippines (FWGP).

Authors have bodies to feed and families to care for. Theirright to a just remuneration for the use of their works is protected by our ownlaw and recognized by international treaties. Let us join the internationalcopyright community in protecting authors and their copyright because thecreative works of authors educated and enlightened our minds.

Respectfully yours,

Alvin J. Buenaventura

Executive Director


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