‘For private use only’ of audiovisual works unacceptable legal defense

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I would like to inquire about the legality of my intention to record a movie soundtrack and sound clips of a new movie that I am anticipating to see in the cinemas. Although I am aware that video recording of a movie in the cinema is banned, I would like to know if the same prohibition applies to mere audio recordings since I am just interested in the music and sound bites of a movie. Also, I plan to have it for my personal use only and without intentions of making money out of it. Can I legally do this? I hope for your advice. Thanks!
Emmanuelle

Dear Emmanuelle,
The answer to your query is found in Republic Act (RA)  10088 known as the Anti-Camcording Act of 2010. Under this law, un-authorized reproduction, pos-session and distribution of movies, audiovisual works or any part of them is penalized by law. In detail, this law prohibits the following acts:

“Section 3. Acts Constituting Unauthorized Possession, Use and/or Control of Audiovisual Recording Devices. – It shall be unlawful for any person, at a time when copyright subsists in a cinematographic film or other audiovisual work or its soundtrack and without the authorization of the copyright owner or exclusive licensee thereof, to:

(a) use or attempt to use an audiovisual recording device to transmit or make a copy of any performance in an exhibition facility of such cinematographic film or other audiovisual  work or its soundtrack, or any part thereof;


(b) have in his/her possession, an audiovisual recording device in an exhibition facility, with the intent of using or attempts to use the audiovisual recording device to transmit or make a copy of any performance in the exhibition facility of such cinematographic film or other audiovisual work or its soundtrack, or any part thereof; or

(c) aid, abet or connive in   the commission of the acts prohibited under this section.” (Emphasis supplied)

As clearly provided in the above-cited law, the prohibition is not limited to the re-production of a whole film or the visual aspect of the film. Mere copying of the soundtrack of a film or any part thereof, if unauthorized by the copyright owner, is included among the prohibited acts under the law. Considering this, we strongly advice you not to record the soundtrack or even mere audio snippets of the film without permission from the author or copyright owner of the film. Should you decide to reproduce or copy any part of the film without proper author-ization, you run the risk of being imprisoned and heavily fined since violation of the cited law, if proven in court, carries penalty of imprisonment from six months and one day to six years and one day with a fine of fifty thousand pesos to seventy thousand pesos (Section 4, Anti-Camcording Act  of 2010).

Furthermore, the justification of personal use of the un-authorized reproduced film is not accepted as a legal defense since the law clearly states that:

“Section 6. No Defense on Account of Use for Private or Domestic Purposes. – It shall not be a defense that the trans-mission or making of the copy of the cinematographic film or other audiovisual work or its soundtrack, or any part thereof, was for private or domestic purposes or in connection with a fair use deal” (Anti-Camcording Act of 2010).

Therefore, by clear provision of the law, you will still be criminally liable even if you   do not intend to distribute or make money out of the unauthorized recording of a film.  If you really want to have a copy or use a part of the movie you desire, it is best to just obtain the officially released soundtrack of the movie.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appre-ciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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