IX. LEGAL ISSUES
What are the concepts discussed? Briefly describe them in your own words.
As the library houses creative works from different authors and creators, it is best for different institutions to know the legal issues anchored to these works. For this week, we tackled numerous legal issues.
First and foremost, we discussed about intellectual property rights. Intellectual property refers to any work made by an artist. This may include books, songs, brands, and so on. To protect such inventions and ideas from being stolen, the creators have a special right known as intellectual property rights (IPR). In a nutshell, intellectual property rights prevent other people from using the creator’s work without his or her permission. Furthermore, the IPR allows creators to legally sue certain people to force them to stop and compensate for any damages should someone take their ideas. There are also two branches of IPR — industrial property (which includes industrial designs, trademarks, commercial names, and such things to protect the work from unfair competition) and copyright (includes protection for artistic creation such as book and song). The copyright also protects other rights such as economic rights (rights of the creator to profit from their creation) and moral rights (rights of the author to claim authorship of the work and restrain the usage of his or her name). Any violation with regard to copyright law (also known as copyright infringement), is punishable under Philippine law.
Next, we also learned about the concept of fair use, which allows people to use a copyright-protected work without the permission of the author or creator. While this may seem contrary to the copyright law, it is good to note that we may only use such materials for a specific circumstance such as for criticism and research to be deemed as fair use. Furthermore, we also delve into the legal issue surrounding photocopying. Photocopying can also be considered as fair use in certain circumstances. In a library context, the library may only produce a single copy of material if and only if the original material is in a fragile state, the material will be used for research purposes, or it will be used for preservation purposes.
Lastly, the concept of intellectual freedom, censorship, and licensing was also discussed this week. Intellectual freedom refers to the freedom of each individual to seek and receive information with no restriction. On the other hand, there is also a concept known as censorship wherein certain persons (particularly those in position) suppress ideas and information that they may deem objectionable or particularly dangerous. Lastly, we learned about the licensing agreement which is a written agreement that contains the terms and conditions under which a licensor grants a license to a license. A license is a legal term for permission to use or access copyright-protected materials.
Why are these activities done in the library and information centers?
As mentioned earlier, the library predominantly houses creative works from various creators and authors. As one of the purveyors of different information, it is only an important thing for library and information professionals to value rules and regulations with regards to the dissemination of information. By abiding and valuing such rules, the library can partake into the promotion of intellectual freedom of every individual without actually neglecting the rights of the creator of the material.
How do you think are these applied in Philippine libraries?
The University of the Philippines has endured censorship challenges, especially during the Marcos regime. During martial law, the University Library is not spared from the eye of the Marcos Government. Despite the censorship and the corresponding punishment to those who have seditious materials on their possession, the library still continued its services and were still able to preserve such papers coming from different progressive groups. Some of these includes Karl Marx’s Das Capital, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (The Little Red Book), and Philippine Society and Revolution by Amado Guerrero — which are all deemed as rebellious materials. It is also said that a great deal of such materials were either brought home by professors or secretly left on the library tables or trash. Librarians were still able to retrieve, collect, and keep them in the library. Also, there are numbers of librarians that are tasked to gather polyetos or handbills, leaflets, and pamphlets from different progressive and underground groups. All materials have been gathered and now resides at the Rare Book Section without any identifiers to avoid military scrutiny. These were all under the supervision of former University Librarian Marina Dayrit (Buenrostro & Cabbab, 2018).
All of these information and actions were done to protect the intellectual freedom of every students and other individuals. As Elif Shafak said, “Without the freedom to criticize, question, and challenge the dominant narrative, societies cannot make progress.”