April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day!

This day is celebrated every year to increase people’s awareness and understanding of the intellectual property. Here’s something that can help you understand more about music copyright. Definitely worth a read! 👍

What is Copyright?

Our current copyright law is Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (“IP Code”) as amended by Republic Act No. 10372 in 2013.

Musical works are subject to copyright protection from the moment of creation. The copyright owner, however, has the option to register his/her musical work with the National Library of the Philippines (either directly or through the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines) for records purposes. While the registration will not be conclusive proof of copyright ownership, it may be considered as persuasive evidence to prove copyright ownership if someone later disputes or contests the ownership.

The Different Types of Copyrights

The enumeration of the copyrights can be found in Section 177 of the IP Code (RA 8293, as amended by RA 10372). They are also called “economic rights” as they are considered property rights which the copyright owners can earn from.

Basically, no one can exercise these rights other than the copyright owner, or those who were authorized or licensed by the copyright owner. The copyright owner has the prerogative to impose conditions for the usage of his/her copyright including the payment of fees or royalties.

Anyone who exercises or uses the copyright without the PRIOR authorization of, or license from, the copyright will incur CIVIL and CRIMINAL liability for copyright infringement. The act is tantamount to using or exploiting someone else’s (intellectual) property without permission.


This refers to the making of one or more copies, temporary or permanent, in whole or in part, of a copyrighted work. Examples of this are recording a song, making a cover video, uploading a recording of a song, and downloading a recording of a song.


This refers to the modification or transformation of a copyrighted work. Examples of this are making a translated version of a song, making a new arrangement of a song, and changing the lyrics of a song.


This refers to the first transfer of ownership of the original and each copy of the copyrighted work. An example of this is the first sale of the recording of a song.


This refers to the transfer of possession of the original or copy of a copyrighted work for a limited time for profit-making purposes. An example of this is the renting out of sheet music to choral groups.


This refers to the public display of a copyrighted work.


This refers to the public playing or performance of a copyrighted work by means of any device or process. Examples of this are the live performance of a song in a bar or concert, and the playing of background music in an establishment (e.g., store, restaurant, gym, mall, office, etc.).


This refers to the broadcasting, rebroadcasting, retransmitting by cable, and broadcasting / retransmitting by satellite of a copyrighted work. This also includes the making available to the public online of a copyrighted work. Examples of this are radio broadcast, TV broadcast, cable broadcast and online streaming.

FILSCAP primarily licenses the “public performance right” and “communication to the public right” of its members and the members of its affiliate foreign societies.

Copyright Ownership

As a general rule, the music creator owns the copyright over the work but there are exceptions.

Copyright Limitations

Duration of Copyright

The duration of the copyright depends on if the music creator is known or unknown.

For musical works with known creators, it is based on his/her lifetime and 50 years after his/her death, in which case the heirs inherit the copyright up to 50 years.

If the creator is unknown, it is based on adding 50 years from its publication date.

After the duration of the copyright, the musical composition becomes public domain.

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