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Baker v.

Selden The US Supreme Court found that a copyright did not give an
author the right to prevent others from using the same
101 U.S. 99 (1879)
method.
Selden wrote a how-to book that described a new, exciting
"The copyright of a book on bookkeeping cannot secure the
method of bookkeeping, including example ledgers for better
exclusive right to make, sell, and use account books prepared
ways to keep track of revenues and expenses.
upon the plan set forth in such a book."
Baker wrote a book on bookkeeping also. It used ledgers that
The Court found that Selden couldn't copyright the forms
were pretty much the same as the ones Selden proposed.
because the forms are necessary to the use of the
Selden sued for copyright infringement.
bookkeeping system (aka merger).
Selden argued that Baker had stolen his method.
The concept of merger is that if an idea can only be expressed
Baker argued that you can't copyright a method, only an in one way or a few ways, granting a copyright on that
expression of that method. Because his book didn't slavishly expression would effectively lock up anybody from using the
copy Selden's, it was not a violation of Selden's copyright. idea. Therefore, since you can't copyright ideas, you can't
copyright those limited ways to express the idea because the
Baker didn't copy any of the text from Selden's book, he just idea behind the work merges with its expression.
used the same bookkeeping system.
The Court found that the forms are functional and not
The Trial Court found for Selden. Baker appealed. expressive, so Selden couldn't copyright the forms for that
reason either.
The Trial Court found that Baker's books were "in large and
material part identical with and infringements of the books of The Court found that what Selden was really trying to protect
Selden system." was a patent on his method, but he didn't have a patent. He
only had a copyright.
The US Supreme Court reversed.
Patents are used to protect ideas and methods (aka "useful
arts"). Copyrights can only be used to protect expressions.
"The description of the art in a book, though entitled to the HELD: Yes. The essence of copyright infringement is the
benefit of copyright, lays no foundation for an exclusive claim copying, in whole or in part, of copyrightable materials as
to the art itself." defined and enumerated in Section 2 of PD. No. 49 (Copyright
Law). Apart from the manner in which it is actually expressed,
At the time, Selden's method would probably not have been
however, the idea of a dating game show is a non-
eligible for patent protection, but he could probably patent it
copyrightable material. Ideas, concepts, formats, or schemes
now under 35 U.S.C. §101.
in their abstract form clearly do not fall within the class of
The decision in this case has now been codified in 17 U.S.C. works or materials susceptible of copyright registration as
§102(b). provided in PD. No. 49. What is covered by BJPI’s copyright is
the specific episodes of the show Rhoda and Me.
See also 37 C.F.R. §201.1, which says that blank forms are not
Further, BJPI should have presented the master videotape of
copyrightable.
the show in order to show the linkage between the copyright
JOAQUIN ET. AL VS. FRANKLIN DRILON (1999) show (Rhoda and Me) and the infringing show (It’s a Date).
This is based on the ruling in 20th Century Fox vs CA (though
BJ Productions Inc. (BJPI) was the holder of copyright over the
this has been qualified by Columbia Pictures vs CA, this is still
show Rhoda and Me. It holds rights over the show’s format
good law). Though BJPI did provide a lot of written evidence
and style of presentation. In 1991, BJPI’s president Francisco
and description to show the linkage between the shows, the
Joaquin saw on TV – RPN 9’s show It’s a Date, a show which is
same were not enough. A television show includes more than
basically the same as Rhoda and Me. He eventually sued
mere words can describe because it involves a whole
Gabriel Zosa, the manager of the show It’s a Date. The
spectrum of visuals and effects, video and audio, such that no
investigating prosecutor found probable cause against
similarity or dissimilarity may be found by merely describing
Zosa. Zosa later sought a review of the prosecutor’s resolution
the general copyright/format of both dating game shows.
before the Secretary of Justice (Franklin Drilon). Drilon
reversed the findings of the fiscal and directed him to dismiss
the case against Zosa. BJ Productions Inc. (BJPI) was the holder of copyright over the
ISSUE: Whether or not the order of Drilon finding no probable show Rhoda and Me. It holds rights over the show’s format
cause is valid. and style of presentation. In 1991, BJPI’s president Francisco
Joaquin saw on TV – RPN 9’s show It’s a Date, a show which is and description to show the linkage between the shows, the
basically the same as Rhoda and Me. He eventually sued same were not enough. A television show includes more than
Gabriel Zosa, the manager of the show It’s a Date. The mere words can describe because it involves a whole
investigating prosecutor found probable cause against spectrum of visuals and effects, video and audio, such that no
Zosa. Zosa later sought a review of the prosecutor’s resolution similarity or dissimilarity may be found by merely describing
before the Secretary of Justice (Franklin Drilon). Drilon the general copyright/format of both dating game shows.
reversed the findings of the fiscal and directed him to dismiss
the case against Zosa.
ISSUE: Whether or not the order of Drilon finding no probable
cause is valid.
HELD: Yes. The essence of copyright infringement is the CHING V. SALINAS, SR. (G.R. NO. 161295)
copying, in whole or in part, of copyrightable materials as
defined and enumerated in Section 2 of PD. No. 49 (Copyright Facts:
Law). Apart from the manner in which it is actually expressed, Petitioner Ching is a maker and manufacturer of a utility
however, the idea of a dating game show is a non- model, Leaf Spring Eye Bushing for Automobile, for which he
copyrightable material. Ideas, concepts, formats, or schemes holds certificates of copyright registration. Petitioner’s request
in their abstract form clearly do not fall within the class of to the NBI to apprehend and prosecute illegal manufacturers
works or materials susceptible of copyright registration as of his work led to the issuance of search warrants against
provided in PD. No. 49. What is covered by BJPI’s copyright is respondent Salinas, alleged to be reproducing and distributing
the specific episodes of the show Rhoda and Me. said models in violation of the IP Code. Respondent moved to
Further, BJPI should have presented the master videotape of quash the warrants on the ground that petitioner’s work is not
the show in order to show the linkage between the copyright artistic in nature and is a proper subject of a patent, not
show (Rhoda and Me) and the infringing show (It’s a Date). copyright. Petitioner insists that the IP Code protects a work
This is based on the ruling in 20th Century Fox vs CA (though from the moment of its creation regardless of its nature or
this has been qualified by Columbia Pictures vs CA, this is still purpose. The trial court quashed the warrants. Petitioner
good law). Though BJPI did provide a lot of written evidence argues that the copyright certificates over the model are
prima facie evidence of its validity. CA affirmed the trial the utilitarian aspects of the article. In this case, the bushing
court’s decision. and cushion are not works of art. They are, as the petitioner
Issues: himself admitted, utility models which may be the subject of a
(1) Whether or not petitioner’s model is an artistic work patent.
subject to copyright protection. (2) NO. No copyright granted by law can be said to arise in
(2) Whether or not petitioner is entitled to copyright favor of the petitioner despite the issuance of the certificates
protection on the basis of the certificates of registration of copyright registration and the deposit of the Leaf Spring Eye
issued to it. Bushing and Vehicle Bearing Cushion. Indeed, in Joaquin, Jr.
Ruling: v.Drilon and Pearl & Dean (Phil.), Incorporated v. Shoemart,
(1) NO. As gleaned from the specifications appended to the Incorporated, the Court ruled that:
application for a copyright certificate filed by the petitioner, Copyright, in the strict sense of the term, is purely a statutory
the said Leaf Spring Eye Bushing for Automobile and Vehicle right. It is a new or independent right granted by the statute,
Bearing Cushion are merely utility models. As gleaned from and not simply a pre-existing right regulated by it. Being a
the description of the models and their objectives, these statutory grant, the rights are only such as the statute confers,
articles are useful articles which are defined as one having an and may be obtained and enjoyed only with respect to the
intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the subjects and by the persons, and on terms and conditions
appearance of the article or to convey information. Plainly, specified in the statute. Accordingly, it can cover only the
these are not literary or artistic works. They are not works falling within the statutory enumeration or description.
intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain, or Ownership of copyrighted material is shown by proof of
works of applied art. They are certainly not ornamental originality and copyrightability. To discharge his burden, the
designs or one having decorative quality or value. Indeed, applicant may present the certificate of registration covering
while works of applied art, original intellectual, literary and the work or, in its absence, other evidence. A copyright
artistic works are copyrightable, useful articles and works of certificate provides prima facie evidence of originality which is
industrial design are not. A useful article may be copyrightable one element of copyright validity. It constitutes prima
only if and only to the extent that such design incorporates facie evidence of both validity and ownership and the validity
pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified of the facts stated in the certificate.
separately from, and are capable of existing independently of
OLANO ET AL VS. LIM ENG CO The Supreme Court found that Metrotech’s directors are not
guilty of copyright infringement. Ownership of valid
In 2004, respondent Lim Eng Co. (LEC) filed a complaint for copyrighted material by complainant is one of the essential
copyright infringement against petitioners Sison Olaño, Sergio elements of copyright infringement under RA 8293.
Ong, Marilyn Go and Jap Fuk Hai, the directors of Metrotech
Steel Industries, Inc. (Metrotech). BNU represented Valid copyrighted material must be shown by proof of
Metrotech’s directors before the Department of Justice, the originality and copyrightability. The SC ruled that LEC’s
C.A., and the S.C. Certificate of Registration Nos. I-2004-13 and I-2004-14 cover
only the hatch door sketches/drawings and not the actual
LEC claimed copyright over “hatch doors” based on Certificate hatch door they depict. The SC further ruled that the hatch
of Copyright Registration and Deposit Nos. I-2004-13 and I- door has no element of design which may be separated from
2004-14 covering illustrations, maps, plans, sketches, charts its utilitarian function. Therefore, the hatch door is an object
and three-dimensional works relative to geography, of utility, and not an artistic creation. It is not eligible for
topography, architecture or science and Certificate of copyright.
Copyright Registration and Deposit Nos. H-2004-566 and H-
2004-567 covering plans/drawings for “original” ornamental Citing the case of Ching v Salinas that works of applied art,
designs or models for articles of manufacture. LEC alleged that original intellectual, literary and artistic works are
Metrotech manufactured hatch doors for a construction copyrightable while useful articles and works of industrial
project by copying its plans/drawings. designs are not. Useful articles may be copyrightable only if
their aesthetic or artistic features can be independently
Metrotech’s directors admitted the manufacturing of hatch identified from their utilitarian aspects.
doors but denied the commission of copyright infringement.
Metrotech contended that the manufacturing of hatch doors
per se is not copyright infringement because LEC’s copyright
protection did not extend to the objects depicted in the
illustrations and plans. Further, the directors argued that
there is no artistic or ornamental expression in hatch doors
which would make it copyrightable.