TEACHING MATERIALS used by the Department of Education (DepEd) should not be reproduced in violation of copyright even during emergencies like the pandemic, a licensing organization said.

“After the book is published and sold, no one should reproduce the book or substantial portions of the book without the author’s permission,” Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc. (Filcols) Executive Director Alvin J. Buenaventura said in a virtual event held by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

Only small portions can be reproduced by photocopying, he said.

“Sadly, there is a culture of unfair use masquerading as fair use in our country. And DepEd unfortunately is the main proponent of this culture.”

Mr. Buenaventura said that DepEd’s Order No. 18-2020, or the rules on providing learning resources during the pandemic, hinders the book publishing industry’s development.

“We fervently hope that DepEd officials will show respect for copyright,” he said, adding that book authors deserve to be paid for their work.

Educators have turned to distance learning during the pandemic, with public schools also delivering printed learning modules to students.

According to the department order, learning modules can be downloaded online. But sharing the files outside of the intended purpose is prohibited. 

DepEd had yet to respond to a request for comment at deadline time. 

IPOPHL Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights Director Emerson G. Cuyo said that the government is not exempt from respecting author copyright.

“For massive use, it’s something that has to be settled between Filcols as the collective management and DepEd as the user of the works.”

IPOPHL can take the role of a broker to help the parties come to an agreement, he said.

“But at the end of the day, it is actually just the rights holder who will know or who can say kung ok na ‘yung arrangement (whether the arrangement is okay) with them.” — Jenina P. Ibañez