FACTS: Petitioner BJ Productions, Inc. (BJPI) is the holder/grantee of Certificate of Copyright No. M922 dated January 28, 1971 of Rhoda and Me, a dating game show aired from 1970 to 1977. In 1973, petitioner BJPI submitted to the National Library an addendum to its certificate of copyright specifying the show’s format and style presentation. In 1991, petitioner Francisco Joaquin, Jr., president of BJPI, saw on RPN 9 an episode of It’s a Date. He immediately protested the airing of the show through a letter sent to Grabriel M. Zosa, president and general manager of IXL Productions, Inc., the producer of It’s a Date. Petitioner Joaquin informed respondent, Zosa of a copyright toRhoda and Me and demanded that IXL discontinue airing It’s a Date. Respondent Zosa apologized to Joaquin, but continued airing the show. Zosa also sought to register IXL’s copyright to the first episode of It’s a Date for which a certificate of copyright was issued by the National Library on August 14, 1991. With these developments, petitioners herein filed a complaint against Zosa and other RPN Channel 9 officers as a result of which an information for violation of P.D. No. 49 was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Zosa appealed to the Department of Justice. The Secretary of Justice reversed the prosecutor’s findings and directed the dismissal of the case. Petitioner Joaquin filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the Secretary of Justice. Hence, this petition. Both public and private respondents maintained that petitioners failed to establish the existence of probable cause due to their failure to present the copyrighted master videotape of Rhoda and Me. They contended that BJPl’s copyright covers only a specific episode of Rhosa and Me and that the formats or concepts of dating game shows were not covered by the copyright protection under P.D. No. 49.
WON THE FORMAT OR MECHANICS OF A TELEVISION SHOW IS COPYRIGHTABLE AND HENCE THERE’S NO NEED OF PRESENTING THE ACTUAL VIDEO FOOTAGE TO COMPARE IN DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT INFRINGEMENT HAD BEEN COMMITTED.
HELD: NO. Copyright, in the strict sense of the term, is purely a statutory right. It is a new or independent right granted by the statute, and not simply a pre-existing right regulated by the statute. Being a statutory grant, the rights are only such as the statute confers, and may be obtained and enjoyed only with respect to the subjects and by the persons, and on terms and conditions specified in the statute. Since . . . copyright in published works is purely a statutory creation, a copyright may be obtained only for a work falling within the statutory enumeration or description. Regardless of the historical viewpoint, it is authoritatively settled in the United States that there is no copyright except that which is both created and secured by act of Congress. . . . P.D. No. 49, Section 2, in enumerating what are subject to copyright, refers to finished works and not to concepts. The copyright does not extend to an idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work. Thus, the new INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES provides: SEC. 175. Unprotected Subject Matter. — Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 172 and 173, no protection shall extend, under this law, to any idea, procedure, system, method or operation, concept, principle, discovery or mere data as such, even if they are expressed, explained, illustrated or embodied in a work; news of the day and other miscellaneous facts having the character of mere items of press information; or any official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, as well as any official translation thereof.
To begin with, the format of a show is not copyrightable. Section 2 of P.D. No. 49, otherwise known as the DECREE ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, enumerates the classes of work entitled to copyright protection, to wit: Section 2. The rights granted by this Decree shall, from the moment of creation, subsist with respect to any of the following classes of works: (A) Books, including composite and cyclopedic works, manuscripts, directories, and gazetteers; (B) Periodicals, including pamphlets and newspaper. (C) Lectures, sermons, addresses, dissertations prepared for oral delivery; (D) Letters; (E) Dramatic or dramatico-musical compositions; choreographic works and entertainments in dumb shows, the acting form of which is fixed in writing or otherwise; (F) Musical compositions, with or without words; (G) Works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, lithography, and other works of art; models or designs for works of art; (H) Reproductions of work of art; (I) Original ornamental designs or models for articles of manufacture, whether or not patentable, and other works of applied art; (J) Maps, plans, sketches, and charts; (K) Drawings or plastic works of a scientific or technical character; (L) Photographic works and works produced by a process analogous to photography; lantern slides; (M) Cinematographic works and works produced by a process analogous to cinematography or any process for making audio-visual recordings; (N) Computer programs; (O) Prints, pictorial illustrations advertising copies, labels, tags, and box wraps; (P) Dramatizations, translations, adaptions, abridgements, arrangements and other alterations of literary, musical or artistic works or of works of the Philippine government as herein defined, which shall be protected as provided in Section 8 of this Decree; (Q) Collections of literary, scholarly, or artistic works or of works referred to in Section 9 of this Decree which by reason of the selection and arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations, the same to be protected as such in accordance with Section 8 of this Decree; (R) Other literary, scholarly, scientific and artistic works. This provision is substantially the same as Section 172 of the INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES (R.A. No. 8293). The format or mechanics of a television show is not included in the list of protected works in Section 2 of P.D. No. 49. For this reason, the protection afforded by the law cannot be extended to cover them.