Protecting Creativity

protectingcreativity_imgThe power of a single idea has always been a driving force of change within our societies. Whether the change has been a positive or a negative one, it has given humanity a chance to grow and move forward to a brighter tomorrow. Such technological advances in the past century have catapulted a great transition in the economy. The information age is now not enough to contain and drive the economic systems to its fullest potential. It is now giving way to a more challenging type of economy: Creativity.

Hartley (2005: 5) derives the emergence of creative industries from the recent changes in technology and the world economy, especially during the 1990s, where the beginning of broad uptake of interactive media forms. He continues by mentioning that creative industries seek to describe the conceptual and practical convergence of the creative arts with cultural industries. (Hartley, John. Creative Industries. 2nd ed. Singapore: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.)

Despite the notion that only advanced societies are capable of fully supporting an economy based on the creative industries, the Philippines is slowly recognizing the potential of said industry in the country. With the rise and development of educational institutions that promote the creative arts, outsource work relating to creative work, and even recognition on various art-related competitions and award giving bodies, our future might be brighter in the hands of our home-grown artists.

Advancements have their own set of risks, and even though the creation of ideas has been present for centuries, there have been insufficient protection for those ideas to fully flourish and used to its maximum potential. With the rise of the digital age, the internet, and social media platforms; the capability of users to ‘share’ with a single click of a button has become both a gift and a curse to the growing creative economy. On one side of the coin, the ‘share’ culture has brought about fast and instant exposure for the creator’s work around the world, but on the other side, it has given users rights not only to illegally distribute it, but also claim the work as their own. Artworks, books, t-shirt designs and even speeches of well-known personalities are victims of this ‘share’ culture. Derivatives are created for the user’s own purpose, disregarding the original creator of the work even for a simple credit or citation.

Intellectual Property law comes into important play in making sure that the protection of an idea is enforced and regulated. The laws provided by the Philippine government have been extensive enough for protecting the rights and claims over an idea. The law has tried it’s best to reform to suite the ever-changing needs of society after the boom of the internet age. Organizations around the world have even teamed up to make sure that every idea generated has its suitable protection for the creator and the creation. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has to assure worldwide standards in every territory to be able to protect creative industries. The organization is also responsible in promoting and protecting intellectual property worldwide. Locally, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in the Philippines has been diligently part of assuring such laws are enforced.

Though the laws on Intellectual Property are provided to the point of convenience, not every member of the creative economy is aware of how these laws can protect them and their creation. Without any proper knowledge or information of these laws: artists, musicians, film makers and the like will have a need to require the hefty services of legal advisors to be able to understand said laws. When any law in fact, must not only be understood by law makers and lawyers, but must primarily be understood by the citizens or the people who will be greatly affected by it.

By Diane Rosales, Intern at WYA Asia Pacific.