Philippine Copyright Law On Original & Derivative works

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Original Works are substantive plans, designs, arts, writings etc. that you created and that are unique and original because they wouldn't exist if you didn't exist while Derivative Work is a work based upon one or more pre-existing literary or artistic w

Copyright, Original Works And Derivative Works, Defined

Copyright is the exclusive right of reproducing the whole or part of an original work or composition or of translating it into another language, or of broadcasting it. It applies to any piece of writing (novel, play, poem, letter), and to any artistic work (painting, drawing, photograph, film, even a building). In Great Britain, the law about copyright is based on the theory that the author of the work should have first claim on any money earned by the reproduction or sale of his work.” (Oxford Junior Encyclopedia)

Original Work is strictly concerned with the origin of the work with the author, which means that it allows for the protection of written and printed matter such as examination papers and football fixture lists as well as works of a more considerable creativity. In Ladbroke (Football) Ltd vs. William Hill (Football) Ltd., Lord Pierce reinforced this rhetoric by stating that ‘originality’ requires that: “…the work should not be copied but should originate from the author… ”

The definition of originality is equally applicable to dramatic, musical, artistic and software works as all require to be ‘original’ in order to have copyright subsist in them.

“So Original Works (OWs) then are substantive plans, designs, arts, writings etc that you created and that are unique and original (they wouldn’t exist if you didn’t exist).”

"Derivative Work is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a derivative work."

Copyright law does depend, to some extent, on the law of the country, territory or region that you’re looking at. Generally however, copyright laws have been internationally standardized and last between 50 and 100 years after the author's or creator’s death."

In the Philippines, original and derivative works is protected by the following provisions of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines:

Original Works

Sec. 172. Literary and Artistic Works. – 172.1. Literary and artistic works hereinafter referred to as “works”, are original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain protected from the moment of their creation and shall include in particular:

(a) Books, pamphlets, articles and other writings;

(b) Periodicals and newspapers;

(c) Lectures, sermons, addresses, dissertations prepared for oral delivery, whether or not reduced in writing or other material form;

(d) Letters;

(e) Dramatic or dramatic-musical compositions; choreographic works or entertainment in dumb shows;

(f) Musical compositions, with or without words;

(g) Works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, lithography or other works of art; models or designs for works of art;

(h) Original ornamental designs or models for articles of manufacture, whether or not registrable as an industrial design, and other works of applied art;

(i) Illustrations, maps, plans, sketches, charts and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science;

(j) Drawings or plastic works of a scientific or technical character;

(k) Photographic works including works produced by a process analogous to photography; lantern slides;

(l) Audiovisual works and cinematographic works and works produced by a process analogous to cinematography or any process for making audio-visual recordings;

(m) Pictorial illustrations and advertisements;

(n) Computer programs; and

(o) Other literary, scholarly, scientific and artistic works.

172.2. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, irrespective of their mode or form of expression, as well as of their content, quality and purpose.

Derivative Works

Sec. 173. Derivative Works. – 173.1. The following derivative works shall also be protected by copyright:

(a) Dramatizations, translations, adaptations, abridgments, arrangements, and other alterations of literary or artistic works; and

(b) Collections of literary, scholarly or artistic works, and compilations of data and other materials which are original by reason of the selection or coordination or arrangement of their contents.

173.2. The works referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Subsection 173.1 shall be protected as new works: Provided however, That such new work shall not affect the force of any subsisting copyright upon the original works employed or any part thereof, or be construed to imply any right to such use of the original works, or to secure or extend copyright in such original works.


1. Oxford Junior Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, 2nd Edition 1964, Oxford University Press, London

2. The Intellectual Property Code Of The Philippines Presented By Jose N. Nolledo, © 1998