CA junks copyright suit vs Baguio firm

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THE Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed a verdict of a lower court junking a complaint filed by the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Inc. (Filscap) against a company in Baguio City.

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In an April 19 ruling penned by Associate Justice Ramon Garcia and concurred in by Associate Justices Leoncia Dimagiba and Henry Jean Paul Inting, the CA’s 14th Division denied Filscap’s appeal as it upheld the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 6, Baguio City, dated April 15, 2015.

In September 2009, Filscap, represented by its general manager Debra Ann Gaite, filed before the court a complaint for infringement of copyright against ANREY Inc., owner and operator of three restaurants in Baguio.

According to Filscap, ANREY, represented by its president Miguel Anton, does not possess a license to publicly play or perform any musical works or the copyrighted songs, which are exclusively being licensed by the group in the Philippines.

It sought the payment of compensatory damages of P18, 900, nominal damages of P300,000 and exemplary damages of P100,000, as well as attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.

After several hearings, the court threw out the complaint as it held that ANREY cannot be said to have infringed upon the copyright law.

It said the firm is not liable to Filscap for any public performance license since the customers of the restaurant pay only for the food and drinks and apparently not for listening to the music until the case reached the appellate court.

In its decision, the CA held that the lower court was right when it handed down its ruling in favor of ANREY.

“We find that appellee ANREY has not infringed upon the intellectual property rights of appellant Filscap, hence it is not liable for damages,” it said.

JOMAR CANLAS

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