This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
(Sunshine) among others, seeking the seizure, among others, of pirated video tapes of copyrighted films all of which were enumerated in a list attached to the application for violation of Section 56 of Presidential Decree No. 49, as amended, otherwise known as the “Decree on the Protection of Intellectual Property.” RTC Judge Austri a conduc ted a joint hearing where she made a personal examination of the applicant (NBI AgentReyes) and his witnesses. Finding just and probable cause, Judge Austria issued the search warrants. Sunshine filed their “Motion to Quash” the SW citing as grounds that there was no probable cause; the films in question are not protected by PD 19 88 in th at they were nev er regis tered i n the Na ti onal Li brary as a condition precedent to the availment of the protection; the Motion Picture Association of America have not proven nor established their ownership over the films; etc. Motion to Quash granted and an order to return the items was issued. Private complainants uncertain of their ownership over the titles; Complainants did not comply with the requirement that master tapes should be presented during the application for search warrants; o Complainants failed to comply with the deposit and registration requirements of PD 49 as amended by PD 1988. CA affirmed the quashal of the SWs. o o
• • •
Issue: WON the SWs were issued with probable cause. Ratio: BASIC REQUIREMENT for the validity of search warrants (in cases of this nature) is the presentation of the master tapes of the copyrighted films from which the pirated films are supposed to have been copied (20th Century Fox Film Corp. vs. CA, 164 SCRA 655). The essence of a copyright infringement is the similarity or at least substantial similarity of the purported pira ted works to the c op y ri gh ted work. Henc e, the applicant must present to the court the copyrighted films to compare them with the purchased evidence of the video tapes allegedly pirated to determine whether the latter is an unauthorized reproduction of the former. This linkage of the copyrighted fi lms to the pi rated fi lms mu st be es ta blis hed to s atisfy the req ui rements of probable cause. Mere allegations as to the existence of the copyrighted films cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant. According to the CA, in which the SC concurs It is not correct to say that "the basic fact" to be proven to establish probable cause in the instant cases is not the "unauthorized transfer" of a mo ti o n p icture th at h as b een rec o rd ed b ut the " sale, leas e, or distribution of pirated video tapes of copyrighted films."In applying for the search warrants the NBI charged violation of the entire provisions of Section 56 of P.D. No. 49 as amended by P.D.No.1988. This included not only the sale, lease or distribution of pirated tapes but also the transfer or causing to be transferred of any sound recording or motion picture or other audio visual work. But even assuming, as appellants argue, that only the sale, lease, or
hence the issue reverts back to the question of whether there was unauthorized transfer. Petitions denied . leased or distributed are pirated tapes. directly or indirectly.distribution of pirated video tapes is involved. the fact remains that there is need to establish probable cause that the tapes being sold. of a sound recording or motion picture or other audio visual work that has been recorded.