Illegal Photocopying and Book Piracy in the Philippines and Its Effects to the Local Book Industry





(Seminar-Workshop on Operating a Reproduction Rights Organization,September 5, 2005,

SEAMEO-Innotech, Diliman, Quezon City)




  • The Philippines remains on the watch list of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) of countries that need to address piracy. It has been categorized in the priority watch list along with Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic , Egypt, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Russia and Taiwan


  • There is not so much available data concerning the state of illegal photocopying and book piracy in the Philippines unlike in the case of the software, music and video piracy


  • That due to the absence of statistical data on book piracy on a nationwide scale, I can only speak on the experience of REX Book Store




At the outset, the backgrounder would indicate that the promotion of creativity for the transitional market like the Philippines is predicated on the strengthening and the enforcement of laws and similar legislative measures which are so designed for the proliferation and enhancement of intellectual inputs.


Being associated with the Philippine Educational Publishers Association (PEPA), which is an aggrupation of publishers which was founded in 1950 with the following objectives:


  • Publish textbooks and other educational materials of the highest quality – both in content and style – at affordable prices in line with the national development plans and educational goals and programs;


  • Motivate, assist, and encourage Filipino writers, researchers, editors, designers, and illustrators in their professional growth and advancement;


  • Contribute to the country’s development by initiating measures for government legislation aimed at revitalizing the publishing industry and making it viable, alive, robust, and responsive to the educational, social, and cultural needs of the Filipino people;


  • Develop and maintain cordial, harmonious, cooperative relations among the publishers of Philippine textbooks and educational materials, as well as other partners in the book industry;


  • Facilitate the prompt and timely dissemination of any information which may be relevant to the protection or upliftment of the individual and collective interests of the members subject to legal limitations, like the protection of trade secrets, etc.;


  • Encourage the members to publish non-textbook materials including literary works, scholarly books, etc. to satisfy social and nationalistic objectives consistent with R.A. No. 8047;


  • Promote and protect by all lawful means the principles of copyright;


we wish to convey our concerns as we believe that there are stumbling blocks for the enhancement and promotion of educational publishing in the Philippines. Allow me therefore to present these stumbling blocks that deter the achievement of the full economic potential of the educational publishing industry :


  1. Though we have RA 8293 as our Copyright Law which is attuned to the international copyright laws under the World Trade Organization, implementation thereof appears to be difficult.


Courts of law seem to grind slowly and huge budgetary requirements are needed to supplement the efforts of the prosecution agencies.


Because of the prolonged gestation  period in the prosecution of cases, violators are emboldened to resurface after every raid.


It is unfortunate that there is a place here in our country called C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila which has unfortunately and notoriously been recognized as a place where piracy and/or unlawful reprinting and/or xeroxing are rampantly being committed.


I believe it would help if procedural guidelines would be uniformly established among the countries.


  1. Effective implementation of similar laws designed to promote the democratization of intellectual inputs like RA 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act.


This law is so crafted to ensure the affordability, accessibility and quality of books with the active participation of the private sector.


I have been privileged to be the keynote speaker during the PEPA’s General Assembly. It took me two hours to read the speech which exhaustively dealt with the various problems besetting the educational publishing sector as an offshoot of inability to implement the law.


Due to time constraint, allow me to disseminate copies of the said keynote speech.


In the course of the General Assembly. a resolution was passed stating that the Proposed Textbook Policy  of the Department of Education does not actually jibe with Sections 10 and 11 of RA 8047. Said sections state the following:


“Section 10. – Public School and Textbook Publishing. The DECS shall consult with the Board in prescribing the guidelines, rules and regulations in preparing the minimum learning competencies, and/or prototypes and other specifications for books required by public elementary and secondary schools; and Section 11. – Participation of Private Publishers in the Public School Textbook Program. Guided by the minimum learning competencies for the elementary level, the desired learning competencies for the secondary level and other specifications prepared by the DECS, publishers shall develop and submit to the DECS those syllabi and/or prototypes and manuscripts or books intended for use in the public schools for testing, evaluation, selection and approval.  Upon approval of the manuscripts or books, publishers shall produce and supply the textbooks as ordered by the DECS.”


In fact, for almost  ten (10)  years since the enactment of RA 8047, said law  has been consistently bypassed or neglected. Privatization was never given an opportunity to take its course.


To be realistic about it, only one or two publishers are being benefited.


Other issues like the uniform discounting scheme, the need to come up with measures to guarantee quality publications through the active participation of the private sector like the proposed coordination with the PEPA Critiquing Committee, etc., have also been discussed in the General Assembly.


  1. PEPA is also interposing an objection to Section 7.3 Rule II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 9184 – The Government Procurement Reform Act which states the following:


“The Project Procurement Management Plan (PPMP) shall include: a) the type of contract to be employed; b) the extent/size of contract scopes/packages; c) the procurement methods to be adopted, and indicating if the procurement tasks are to be outsourced as provided in Section 53(e) of this IRR-A; d) the time schedule for each procurement activity; and e) the estimated budget for the general components of the contract, e.g., civil works, goods and consultancy services.  The AP shall include provisions for foreseeable emergencies based on historical records.  In case of textbooks for general use, the packaging of the contract shall be divided into two components: a) development of the manuscript; and b) printing of the textbooks. (underscoring supplied)


The matter has been brought to the attention of the International Publishers Association (IPA) which is an aggrupation of national publishing associations from 78 countries based in Geneva, Switzerland. IPA  finds validity to the position paper of PEPA prompting it to communicate its endorsements to the various government agencies in the Philippines.


It is the contention of PEPA that the concept of the publisher under RA 8047 should necessarily embrace being a developer of the manuscript, publisher and/or printer, and a distributor of the publications all rolled into one,  as the publisher concerned is the person/entity more knowledgeable of the business compared to others.


The proposition of the Government  Procurement Policy Board to chop-off these functions of developing, publishing and/or printing and distributing to serve as bases for separate biddings may be violative not only of RA 8047 but also of the Copyright Law aside from curtailing creativity.


  1. PEPA has likewise complained that everytime there is a change in the administration, it brings about a change also in the Department of Education Secretary who would invariably issue new policies coupled with the imposition of new set of curriculum which places book development in a serious disarray. We have proposed curative measures and that we are thankful to the legislators concerned as they have  now reached the status of legislative bills.


  1. We are thankful also that through the initiative of PEPA and the indispensable participation of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) a proposed legislative enactment entitled “An Act Creating A National Book Development Trust Fund To Support Filipino Authorship” has now become Senate Bill 2612 and House Bill 6226.


  1. There are also other provisions under RA 8047 which have not yet been implemented such as:



6.1 To promote the effective distribution of books in the domestic as well as in the international markets through an efficient and reliable postal and transport delivery system (paragraph “g”, Section 4);


6.2 To foster the development of the skills of personnel engaged in book publishing through in-service training programs and formal degree and non-degree book publishing courses in schools (paragraph “h”, Section 4);


6.3 To promote whenever appropriate the use of recycled/waste paper and other inexpensive local materials in the manufacture of books to reduce the cost of such locally-produced books (paragraph “k”, Section 4);


6.4 Effective coordination between NBDB and the Department of Education shall be established for the adoption of an efficient textbook procurement program (Implementing Policy No. 5.5 (a), National Book Policy [NBP] );


6.5 The Department of Education shall initiate measures to decentralize evaluation of textbooks, references and other instructional materials particularly those which are locally developed and/or intended for specific geographic areas or cultural communities (Implementing Policy 5.5 (b), NBP);


  • (Public) School principals or equivalent officials shall be 6.7 empowered to determine which books shall be purchased and used for their respective schools (Implementing Policy 5.5 (c), NBP);”(parenthetical word supplied)


and more importantly, the formulation and passage  of the National Book Development Plan.


  1. Implementing Policies 2.2 of the NBP which provides that : “Private publishers shall be encouraged  and given assistance to participate in international book fairs so that they may be induced to produce globally competitive publications” and 4.6 which states that; “Exportation of books shall be given proper support and incentives;” must be implemented for us to acquire the desired dignity in the family of nations.





From the foregoing, it may be deduced that though we have beautifully-crafted laws, the problems lie in their respective implementations.


We trust that the Creative Team from the British Council could furnish us with assistance to ensure the effective implementation of these measures to bring about the envisioned creative economy with business, government and educational sectors interacting with one another to provide the needed support.


Thank you very much.



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