Beware of copyright violations
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - July 3, 2014 - 12:00am

For lack of money, I don’t really blame students for resorting to having whole textbooks photocopied. But that doesn’t mean they’re not committing a crime. Instead of buying a 200-page  book at, say, P350, they pay  only P100 for 50 centavos per page.  If caught, they will  be charged with violating the Intellectual Property Code and made to pay damages at a cost higher than the book they want reproduced.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) last week urged Filipinos to adhere to copyright laws, specifically by putting an end to the practice of illegally photocopying textbooks.

IPOPHL, the lead bureau that administers and implements Republic Act (RA) 8293, known as the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of the Philippines, is currently implementing a nationwide education campaign that aims to intensify and reinforce public awareness of the IP code and the copyright law.

“Copyright would be what is created by the mind,” IPOPHL director general Ricardo Blancaflor told the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel media forum last week. “It can be literary or scientific works. It covers books, films, music, broadcast, sculpture, and other similar works.”

With the 2014 school year having begun, photocopy  centers  are busy reproducing books and other printed materials for students. This is not surprising. Blancaflor explained that in the Philippines, textbooks are still much in use. Said  Blancaflor: “If we allow photocopying, students would lose respect for the authors. So what will happen is, anybody can just photocopy books and nobody would want to write anymore.”

Blancaflor said a survey conducted by IPOPHL with Social Weather Stations showed that most Filipinos are conscious about copyright. Some 54 per- cent know copyright, “but their idea of copyright infringement is DVD and CD. It is piracy. They’re not conscious about copyright in books and I think that’s really tragic, because we have really good authors.”

The IPOPHL head was asked if one borrowed a book from the library and scanned the whole book, would that be tantamount to copyright infringement? Yes,” Blancaflor answered. “Now one of the defences for this would be ‘fair use.’ The concept of fair use has been discussed extensively. But the basis of fair use would include research and for private use, as long  as it is bottom line, not for commercial use.” And copyright infringement in this country, he said, is a crime. “So when you copy something it’s a crime.”

According to the IP Code, first-time offenders are  punishable by imprisonment of one year to three years, and fines ranging from P50,000 to P150,000, plus damages.

At the media forum, Atty. Anthony Bengzon of Bengzon Negre Untalan Intellectual Property Attorneys revealed that early this year, a market survey conducted by a private investigation firm showed that 46 percent (46 outlets out of 101) of major photocopiers in Metro Manila were found to be illegally photocopying books.

Most of these photocopiers are operating within the vicinity of universities and schools where students are looking for ways to cut down on costs.

The illegal practice prompted the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct raid operations last May 21 against three of the biggest photocopy centers violating the copyright law.

*  *  *

 My husband and I had dinner with a  dear old friend from the old Clark Military Base days who is now working  with the US government in Bahrain. Larry Bennett brought along his lovely wife, Laura, a Unity church minister, for a short visit here. Our conversation covered a wide range of topics – from the peace process to  life in Bahrain, the Unity Church which has a growing following here, to shopping sprees in Middle Eastern countries, Islamic culture, and so forth and so on.

We brought the couple to our favourite dining place  — Bangus Restaurant at the MOA mall (the other branch is at Greenhills), and ordered the usual mouth-watering  dishes — Bulalo, Rellenong Bangus, Shrimps in Coconut Milk and Aligi,  Bangus Belly in Soy Sauce, the restaurant’s unique Bangus Skin Chicharon, and Rice with Garlic topping.  It turned out Laura is a vegetarian through and through, but she was game enough to settle for a dish of steamed kangkong and mango and onion ensalada, two glasses of watermelon shake halo-halo. Laura first tasted halo-halo on her second day in the Philippines, and immediately fell in love with it.   For my dessert, I had two orders of the  best maja blanca in town.

For a different ambience, we  had coffee and chocolate cake  at Café Adriatico in Ermita. The Bennetts  were to drive to Tagaytay yesterday, and I immediately recommended they have lunch  at  Sonya’s Garden which serves a memorable menu of salad greens and pasta.

*  *  *       

When Paul Lazaro, auditor of  one of the biggest business process outsourcing  (BPO)  companies  was asked what the biggest challenges customer service representatives are facing today, he answered, “It’s the safety and productivity of our workforce.”  That’s because, he added,   most BPO employees come to work during the wee-hours of the night until morning, exposing them to sickness and to criminal elements.

 “That  is exactly what our Poten-Cee Forte Urban Defense Program wants to address,” said  Jericho Bayona, group brand manager for Pascual Consumer Health Corporation. “We want to empower employees in protecting themselves against sickness and crime.

To protect workers from health and crime hazards, Rockstar Integrated Marketing Solutions has spearheaded the Poten-Cee Forte Urban Defense Program in establishments in major metropolitan areas in the country. Employees are taught Rapid Response Combat Solutions consisting of  life-saving skills by a leading security consulting group.

“It has always been our mission to educate and equip our clients with the best defensive skills possible,” said   Joseph Arnaldo, founder of Rapid Response Combat Solutions. “In our program, our clients – male and female -- are trained to read any situation that can be a threat to their safety. We equip them with defensive skills from the modus-operandi of common criminals. From akbay-tutok where a criminal suddenly pulls beside you with a knife to handling drunks on the streets who suddenly push or force you.”       

“The skills that I have learned from the urban program are very practical. And I feel way more confident now as  I commute to and from work, especially during my graveyard shifts”, says  Mike Gomez, a team leader of  one of the companies who joined the program.

Aside from  life-saving skills, employees are encouraged to take the right vitamins to help them cope with stress – a most common predicament in the workplace.  As an incentive, employees are provided with free Poten-cee Forte products – “to help protect their bodies from inside out,” explains Jericho Bayona.

With the vitamin’s  eight-hour time release formula, users have longer exposure to the benefits of Vitamin C.  Taken daily,  1,000mg of Vitamin C enhances protection/defense against colds and flu and helps maintain healthy skin/hair/bones and teeth. 

To  avail of this urban defense program, get in touch with Alvin Degamo of Rockstar  Integrated Marketing Solutions at +63 917 811 3459 or drop him an email at  Or visit for more details.

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