Copyright Law for Bloggers, Influencers, and Content Creators

By Mommy Donna and Kib - June 14, 2021

I have been seeing posts of some people crying foul over shared posts claiming that it is their original quote or photo. These people have been complaining that they aren't even acknowledged as the main source of the said quote or photo. They are claiming copyrights over those materials that they have shared online.

I, too, have been victimized over such things.

Smart Parenting had made me a resource person when they wrote an article about Solo Parent ID. I guess the reason why they were able to find me as a credible source was they found my original blog post on the Internet. They even asked me if they can use my Solo Parent ID photo included in my original blog. Smart Parenting duly acknowledged me as the source, even citing my website for others to visit too.

However, one friend saw another blog post about Solo Parent ID and also used my Solo Parent ID in the blog. What made it worse was that the blog only cited Smart Parenting as the original source, missing my blog and my name in the article.

I sent a message to that cite, asking to take it down. Thankfully, without further questions, the said post was deleted.

Another incident was when a news documentary about plants used the photo of my missing plant in their report. It was posted on our Facebook page but deleted some important details, like the Facebook page when they flashed it on the screen. The news agency didn't ask my permission to use my photo in their report. Despite that, I wasn't offended at all. I didn't even bother to call the attention of the news agency about it.

I'm wondering: what are the parameters of the Copyright Law, especially in digital works?

I have written an earlier blog about Copyright Law but it only covers the distribution of the digital version of printed materials like novels and workbooks. This time, I want to interpret Copyright Law based on the digital works of bloggers/vloggers, influencers, and content creators.

While Facebook has some information about Copyright Law, it also mentioned that it may also vary from country to country. You may check the Copyright Law info on Facebook HERE.

So, to further clear things up, I asked a friend who used to work as a paralegal in the United States to further interpret the Copyright Law in the Philippines.

I asked my friend how the Copyright Law could be applied to content creators, influencers, and bloggers. I have written about the Copyright Law earlier about the illegal distribution of printed materials online, so this time, I want to clarify if the same thing is applicable to those who are writing their thoughts, ideas, and opinions online. I got shocked to know that ONLY ARTISTIC AND LITERARY WORKS can be protected by Copyright Law in the Philippines. This means that general ideas and concepts are NOT PROTECTED. Anyone is allowed to copy another blogger's/content creator's/influencer's concept or idea.

To reiterate, only artworks and literary materials such as books and essays that have been published are protected by the Copyright Law.

I also asked about the ownership of photos. If you post a photo on social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram Pinterest, etc.), it means that you are allowing the website to use it. Technically, as the owner of the photo, you still have control over the photo and you can delete it anytime you want. The photo owner still has the copyright over the photo, but since it was posted on social media, it means that you are giving the website permission to be used by others. However, the case is different on your own website. It is easier to protect the photos on your own domain than on social media. My paralegal friend reminded everyone to be careful in posting personal photos online because, in essence, you are giving them to the public for free.

Don't fret. Watermarks and disclaimers can help in protecting your photos. 

On the other hand, logos and branding are under trademark, but if the business is not registered and the logo isn't registered as a trademark, no one could cry foul over it. So it is very important to register your business and your logo to fully protect your proprietary rights.

I further asked about the ownership of literary works, particularly in Wattpad or Dreame. Not all written works there are not yet turned into a book, so I wondered if these will be protected by the Copyright Law. My friend admitted that even in the U.S. it is a gray area. She checked the Copyright Law in the Philippines and there are lots of things that our current law is silent with regards to the protection of artistic and literary works. 

To check whether the copyright was applied to literary works online or to the 'silent concerns', she advised that the next thing to do was to check if there are court cases/precedents.

If that's the case, how can we protect the works that we have online? 

I've asked my paralegal friend for the best practices that we can do as content creators/bloggers/influencers if there is a way for us to protect our works.

She straightforwardly said to me that there is NO WAY for content creators/bloggers/influencers to cry foul publicly over ideas that are copied on social media. Copyright Law does not apply to personal opinions or theories. We can put all the watermark or disclaimer if we want to, but it will still not stop people from sharing or copying. 

I'm thankful for my paralegal friend who helped me understand Copyright Law further. While I know that this will be a bitter pill for content creator like me, what we can do is to always remind our followers and readers to be vigilant and to always remind them to give due credits instead of putting CTTO on the shared post.

Ianne sent April 2

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