Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Philippines

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of the Philippines relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in the Philippines must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both the Philippines and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from the Philippines, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.


The Philippines archipelago was colonized by Spain from the 16th century. The country declared independence after the Spanish American War of 1898. Spain had ceded the Philippines to the United States, which recolonized the country in 1899–1902. The Philippines regained independence on 4 July 1946.

The Philippines has been a member of the Berne Convention since 1 August 1951, the Universal Copyright Convention since 19 November 1955, the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995 and the WIPO Copyright Treaty since 4 October 2002.[1]

Governing laws

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8293) (2015 Edition) as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of the Philippines.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2]

The IP Code of the Philippines, which took effect on January 1, 1998, repeals the Presidential Decree No. 49 (Decree on the Protection of Intellectual Property)[3] that took effect on November 14, 1972[4] and repealed Act No. 3134 (Copyright Law of the Philippine Islands) of 1924.[5] The repealing clauses are found at Section 240 for the present law and Section 64 for the 1972 law, therefore both laws can be considered as non-retroactive and works that fell into public domain before the date of effectivity of the laws remained in public domain. However, works with subsisting copyright protection continue to enjoy copyright protection, under the provisions of the newer law.[49/1972 Section 63][8293/2015 Section 240.3.]


Under Republic Act No. 8293, the following literary and artistic works are given copyright protection from the moment of creation.[8293/2015 Chapter II Section 172.1]

  • Books, pamphlets, articles and other writings.
  • Periodicals and newspapers.
  • Lectures, sermons, addresses, dissertations prepared for oral delivery, whether or not reduced in writing or other material form.
  • Letters.
  • Dramatic or dramatico-musical compositions; choreographic works or entertainment in dumb shows.
  • Musical compositions, with or without words.
  • Works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, lithography or other works of art; models or designs for works of art.
  • Original ornamental designs or models for articles of manufacture, whether or not registrable as an industrial design, and other works of applied art.
  • Illustrations, maps, plans, sketches, charts and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science.
  • Drawings or plastic works of a scientific or technical character.
  • Photographic works including works produced by a process analogous to photography; lantern slides.
  • Audiovisual works and cinematographic works and works produced by a process analogous to cinematography or any process for making audio-visual recordings.
  • Pictorial illustrations and advertisements.
  • Computer programs.
  • Other literary, scholarly, scientific and artistic works.

These are protected by copyright "by the sole fact of their creation, irrespective of their mode or form of expression, as well as of their content, quality and purpose."[8293/2015 Chapter II Section 172.2]

General rules

According to the IP Code of the Philippines (Act No. 8293) (2015 Edition),

  • Literary and artistic works works are protected during the life of the author and for 50 years after his death. This rule also applies to posthumous works.[8293/2015 Section 213.1]
  • Works of joint authorship are protected during the life of the last surviving author and for 50 years after his death.[8293/2015 Section 213.2]
  • Anonymous or pseudonymous works where the author's identity is not revealed are protected for 50 years from the date on which the work was first lawfully published, or if the work is not published for 50 years from the making of the work.[8293/2015 Section 213.3]
  • Works of applied art are protected for 25 years from the date of making.[8293/2015 Section 213.4]
  • Photographic works are protected for 50 years from publication of the work and, if unpublished, for 50 years from the making.[8293/2015 Section 213.5]
  • Audio-visual works including those produced by process analogous to photography or any process for making audio-visual recordings, the term is 50 years from date of publication and, if unpublished, from the date of making.[8293/2015 Section 213.6]
  • The terms of protection provided in section 213 are always be deemed to begin on the first day of January of the year following the event which gave rise to them.[8293/2015 Section 214]
  • Sound or Image and Sound recordings are protected for 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording took place.[8293/2015 Section 215.1]
  • Broadcasts are protected for 20 years from the date the broadcast took place.[8293/2015 Section 215.2]
For works created before 1998
  • Presidential Decree No. 49 (1972) provided the same terms of protection in most cases (50 years).[49/1972 Sections 21–25]
  • Act No. 3134 (1924) did not grant automatic copyright protection from the moment of creation; instead copyright began to exist when a work was registered.[3134/1924 Section 11] Copyright duration was 30 years from registration, and a renewal was needed to further protect the work, for another 30 years.[3134/1924 Section 18]

According to Section 3.1 of the Memorandum Circular No. 021-2023, released by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines in 2023 and governing the rules about public domain works in the Philippines, works meeting the following criteria are automatically in public domain:[4]

  • "Works created prior to 14 November 1972 that were not registered or the registrations of which were not renewed prior to such date, whether the author is alive or deceased." (Section 3.1(a))
  • "Works created prior to 14 November 1972 that were registered or the registrations of which were renewed: Provided, that the author has died and more than 50 years has elapsed from said death." (Section 3.1(b))
  • "Irrespective of Sections 3.1a. and 3.1b. above, any work belonging to the category of work below which has been created or published for more than 30 years as of 1 January 1998: (i) Periodicals and newspapers; (ii) Works of applied art, and (iii) Cinematographic or photographic works as well as those produced by any process analogous to cinematography or any process for making audio-visual recordings."

Works that may be "copyrighted" using the current 50 years p.m.a. may actually be public domain due to non-retroactivity of the newer law. Example: Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan, authored by Guillermo Tolentino (died 1976) but unveiled in 1933, during the regime of Act No. 3134.

Nevertheless, as Wikimedia Commons licensing policy requires hosted files to be free both in the source country and in the United States, several public domain works in the Philippines cannot be hosted on the media repository site due to still-existing U.S. copyrights brought by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (see Commons:URAA-restored copyrights). Any work from the Philippines that were still under Philippine copyright as of 1 January 1996 (the URAA date of effectivity for works from the Philippines) should not be uploaded on Wikimedia Commons, even if those are now in public domain in the Philippines, until after the expiration of U.S. copyrights.

Commissioned works


See also: Commons:Commissioned works

Works created during the course of employment
  • In the case of work created by an author during and in the course of his employment, the copyright shall belong to:
    • (a) 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.
    • (b) 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.[8293/2015 Section 178.3]
Works created during the course of commission

In most cases physical ownership does not equate to ownership of copyright:

  • 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 shall have ownership of the work, but the copyright thereto shall remain with the creator, unless there is a written stipulation to the contrary.[8293/2015 Section 178.4]

This especially applies to cases of works commissioned and owned by the Philippine Government or its subdivisions and instrumentalities, but the creators or authors of such works are not employees of the Government or the Government itself.

Not protected

See also: Commons:Unprotected works

No protection shall extend to any idea, procedure, system, method or operation, concept, principle, discovery or mere data as such, even if they are expressed, explained, illustrated or embodied in a work; news of the day and other miscellaneous facts having the character of mere items of press information; or any official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, as well as any official translation thereof.[8293/2015 Section 175]

Government works

See also: Commons:Government works

Works made by the government, or by government employees, are not protected by copyright:

No copyright shall subsist in any work of the Government of the Philippines. However, prior approval of the government agency or office wherein the work is created shall be necessary for exploitation of such work for profit. Such agency or office may, among other things, impose as a condition the payment of royalties. No prior approval or conditions shall be required for the use for any purpose of statutes, rules and regulations, and speeches, lectures, sermons, addresses, and dissertations, pronounced, read or rendered in courts of justice, before administrative agencies, in deliberative assemblies and in meetings of public character.[8293/2015 Section 176.1]

The clause for prior approval is determined to be a non-copyright restriction and can be safely ignored for the purposes of Wikimedia Commons by policy. Therefore works of the Philippine Government is considered to be under the Public Domain. See discussion for {{PD-PhilippineGov}}.

The government may acquire copyright in a work, which will continue to last for the normal duration:

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest or otherwise; nor shall publication or republication by the government in a public document of any work in which copyright is subsisting be taken to cause any abridgment or annulment of the copyright or to authorize any use or appropriation of such work without the consent of the copyright owner.[8293/2015 Section 176.3]

For further information, refer to:

Philippine News Agency content -  Unsure

The website of the Philippine News Agency contains terms of use stating that content on the website can only "be downloaded or printed for your own personal and non-commercial use only of not more than five (5) articles/photos per day." It adds that commercial use requires "written consent of NIB-PNA." The News and Information Bureau of the Philippine government repeats this copyright claim: "All contents of this site are protected by Philippines copyright laws under Republic Act No. 8293, known as the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of the Philippines, and may not be reproduced, distributed, altered, published or broadcast for commercial use without prior permission from PNA and its mother unit, the News and Information Bureau (NIB). However, the public may freely use PNA news contents with proper attribution for personal use only particularly in disseminating latest articles for public consumption in social media such as Facebook and Twitter." See also: Category:Philippine News Agency-related deletion requests.

Provincial government websites

Official websites of some Philippine provinces bear copyright-related terms of use, such as those of Agusan del Sur and of Iloilo, notwithstanding what is dictated in the law that no copyright shall subsist in any work of the Government.

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-Philippines}} – for public domain Philippine images whose copyrights expired or released into the public domain.
  • {{PD-PhilippinesGov}} – for works of the government of the Philippines exempted from copyright as stated by Republic Act No. 8293.
  • {{PD-PhilippinesPubDoc}} – for works that are derived from a public document, as stated at Section 175 of Republic Act. No. 8293.
  • {{WorkDepicted-PD-PhilippinesGov}} – for images that depict a work of the government of the Philippines exempted from copyright as stated by Republic Act No. 8293.


See also: Commons:Currency

 Not OK. For reproductions of legal tender notes or metallic copies of legal tender coins.
OK. For copies of notes and coins that are no longer legal tender, and for non-metallic reproductions of coins.

No copyright shall subsist in any work of the Government of the Philippines. However, prior approval of the government agency or office wherein the work is created shall be necessary for exploitation of such work for profit.[8293/2015 Section 176.1] The Central Bank of the Philippines prohibits making, distributing or using:

  • Any handbill, advertisement, placard, circular, card, or any other object whatsoever bearing the facsimile, likeness or similitude of any legal tender Philippine currency note, or any part thereof, whether in black and white or any color or combination of colors, without prior authority therefore having been secured from the Governor, BSP or his duly authorized representative.
  • Any object whatsoever bearing the likeness or similitude as to design, color or the inscription thereon of any legal tender Philippine currency coin or any part thereof, in metal form, irrespective of size and metallic composition, without prior authority from the Governor, BSP or his duly authorized representative.[6]
See also: Category:Philippine currency-related deletion requests.

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

 Not OK for majority of the works of art. {{NoFoP-Philippines}} Note: Please tag Philippine no-FoP deletion requests: <noinclude>[[Category:Philippine FOP cases/pending]]</noinclude>

There is no provision in any of the exceptions listed under Chapter VIII ("Limitations on copyright") of the IP Code of the Philippines (Act No. 8293) (2015 Edition) allowing images of copyrighted architectural and artistic works to be made and/or distributed for commercial purposes, such as post cards, stamps, calendars, advertising materials, and T-shirt printing.[8293/2015 Chapter VIII Section 184–190]

According to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, street art is "qualifiable for copyright protection" per the copyright law. Accordingly, the artists "enjoy economic rights, which involves generation of profit from others' use, reproduction, or any transformation of their work for commercial purposes. Another right enjoyed by a copyright holder are moral rights or the rights of an author to proper attribution, to make any alterations on his or her works, to withhold or deny publication, and to object to any modifications or mutilation to his or her work."[7]

Section 184 of Chapter VIII provides the following acts as not constituting copyright infringement:[8293/2015 Chapter VIII Section 184.1]

(d) The reproduction and communication to the public of literary, scientific or artistic works as part of reports of current events by means of photography, cinematography or broadcasting to the extent necessary for the purpose; (Sec. 12, P.D. No. 49)

(e) The inclusion of a work in a publication, broadcast, or other communication to the public, sound recording or film, if such inclusion is made by way of illustration for teaching purposes and is compatible with fair use: Provided, That the source and of the name of the author, if appearing in the work, are mentioned.

None of these provisions are strictly free enough for Wikimedia Commons. In particular, fair use is not allowed on Wikimedia Commons, and licensing limited to noncommercial uses is not allowed either.

Recent developments

See meta:Pilipinas Panorama Community/Freedom of Panorama#Recent developments for the recent developments concerning the attempt to introduce freedom of panorama in the country.

Public domain exceptions for FoP-reliant works

OK: Buildings completed prior to November 14, 1972: {{PD-Philippines-FoP work}}. The previous copyright laws, the Spanish Law on Intellectual Property (1879)[8] and Act No. 3134 (1924, which followed the U.S. copyright law),[5] did not protect buildings. On November 14, 1972, Presidential Decree No. 49 took effect which formally protected works of architecture and made works copyright-protected upon creation, removing copyright registration formalities.[3] See also the following discussions: Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2020/08#Philippine buildings before 1972 and Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2021/06#Philippine buildings from 1951–1972 - anew.

OK: Artistic works (e.g. sculptures) made before 1972 that were not registered, and artistic works made before 1942 that were once registered but not renewed: {{PD-Philippines-FoP work}}. Act No. 3134, the then-prevailing copyright law,[5] required registration and a notice for a work to be copyright-protected. Such requirements were removed by Presidential Decree No. 49 s. 1972. Works were considered not protected by copyright unless these were registered, and the term of copyright was 30 years from the date of registration. See also Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Bonifacio National Monument (Caloocan City)#Files in Category:Bonifacio National Monument (Caloocan City) 2.

OK: literary texts on commemorative markers from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and its predecessors: {{WorkDepicted-PD-PhilippinesGov}}. See also this deletion request.

General copyright term for all architectural and artistic works: Copyright protection expires 50 years after the death of the original or last-surviving author (whether the architect, sculptor, painter, or other artist). On January 1st of the following year (ie. January 1 of the 51st Year), freely licensed images of the author's 3D works such as sculptures, buildings, bridges or monuments are now free and can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. The lack of Philippine freedom of panorama is no longer relevant here since the author's works are now copyright free.

See also: Category:Philippine FOP cases.


See also: Commons:Stamps Public domain use {{PD-PhilippineGov}}

Works by the government of the Philippines are not protected by copyright. A prior approval of the government is necessary for exploitation of such works for profit. However, the clause for prior approval is determined to be a non-copyright restriction and can be safely ignored for the purposes of Wikimedia Commons by policy. (See discussion).

Warning sign Warning while Philippine stamps are public domain as works of the Philippine government, one must also take into account the underlying derivative works that may appear in the stamps, such as photographs from non-free sources and copyrighted artworks. Section 176.3 of the copyright law provides that the copyright in a work is not invalidated by its "publication or republication by the government in a public document." See also this April 2020 deletion request and this May 2021 deletion request.

Threshold of originality

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

The concept of threshold of originality probably does not exist in the Philippines. It is possible that the sweat of the brow concept applies. In this concept, "a work can be eligible for copyright protection if there is a substantial amount of labor, effort, or investment involved, even if it lacks a significant level of creativity. This standard places emphasis on the effort put into creating the work rather than the level of originality or creativity." (Reference: Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2023/07#Probable low Philippines TOO)

For this reason, some logos that may be simple for the American jurisprudence may be eligible for copyright in the Philippines. Two examples are logos of Photo Sikwate (2022-00957-G) and of Geomax Solutions and Innovations (2022-01698-G), both of which were afforded copyright registration as proven by the 2022 copyright registry of Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

However, in the midst of controversy surrounding the most popular noontime variety show of the Philippines in mid-2023 (refer to w:en:Eat Bulaga!#Copyright infringement case for the background information), Atty. Maggie Garduque who represents the show's producer (TAPE, Inc.) claims the design of the logo of the show "is a trademark and not subject of copyright."[9]

See also


  1. a b Philippines Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  2. Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8293) (2015 Edition). the Philippines (2015). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  3. a b Presidential Decree No. 49, s. 1972. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved on 2021-01-28.
  4. a b IPOPHL MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 021 Series of 2023. Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. Retrieved on 2021-11-25.
  5. a b c Act No. 3134, (1924-03-06). Retrieved on 2021-01-28.
  6. Rules and Regulations on the Reproduction and/or Use of Legal Tender (excerpts from Circular No. 61 1995). Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Retrieved on 2019-01-28.
  7. Young Filipinos Remember Kobe Thru Street Art. Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. Retrieved on 2020-12-04.
  8. Ley de 10 de enero de 1879 de propiedad intelectual. Retrieved on 2021-01-28.
  9. Blancaflor, MJ (2023-07-13). TAPE Inc: 'Eat Bulaga' name, logo not subject to copyright. Metro News Central. Retrieved on 2023-07-21.
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer