7 thoughts on “Law on Mass Media : Paperless 4

    G.R. No. L-32066
    August 6, 1979

    1. Sometime in August, 1961, petitioner Manuel Lagunzad, began the production of a movie entitled “The Moises Padilla Story”. It was based mainly on the copyrighted but unpublished book of Atty. Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr., entitled “The Long Dark Night in Negros” subtitled “The Moises Padilla Story”.
    2. The book narrates the events which culminated in the murder of Moises Padilla who was then a mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the Municipality of Magallon, Negros Occidental, during the November, 1951 elections. Governor Rafael Lacson, a member of the Liberal Party then in power and his men were tried and convicted for that murder. In the book, Moises Padilla is portrayed as “a martyr in contemporary political history.”
    3. Although the emphasis of the movie was on the public life of Moises Padilla, there were portions which dealt with his private and family life including the portrayal in some scenes, of his mother, Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales, private respondent herein, and of one “Auring” as his girlfriend.
    On October 5, 1961, Mrs. Nelly Amante, half-sister of Moises Padilla, for and in behalf of her mother, private respondent, demanded in writing for certain changes, corrections and deletions in the movie.
    4. On the same date, October 5, 1961, after some bargaining, the petitioner and private respondent executed a “Licensing Agreement” where the petitioner agreed to pay the private respondent the sum of P20,000.00 payable without need of further demand, as follows: P5,000.00 on or before Oct. 10, 1961; P10,000.00 on or before Oct. 31, 1961; and P5,000.00 on or before November 30, 1961. Also the Licensor (private respondent) grants authority and permission to Licensee (Petitioner) to exploit, use, and develop the life story of Moises Padilla for purposes of producing the PICTURE, and in connection with matters incidental to said production, such as advertising and the like, as well as authority and permission for the use of LICENSOR’s name in the PICTURE and have herself portrayed therein, the authority and permission hereby granted, to retroact to the date when LICENSEE first committed any of the acts herein authorized.
    5. After its premier showing on October 16, 1961, the movie was shown in different theaters all over the country.
    6. Because petitioner refused to pay any additional amounts pursuant to the Agreement, on December 22, 1961, private respondent instituted the present suit against him praying for judgment in her favor ordering petitioner 1) to pay her the amount of P15,000.00, with legal interest from the filing of the Complaint; 2) to render an accounting of the proceeds from the picture and to pay the corresponding 2-1/2% royalty therefrom; 3) to pay attorney’s fees equivalent to 20% of the amounts claimed; and 4) to pay the costs.
    7. Petitioner contended in his Answer that the episodes in the life of Moises Padilla depicted in the movie were matters of public knowledge and was a public figure; that private respondent has no property right over those incidents; that the Licensing Agreement was without valid cause or consideration and that he signed the same only because of the coercion and threat employed upon him. As a counterclaim, petitioner sought for the nullification of the Licensing Agreement as it constitutes an infringement on the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the press.
    Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals ruled in favour of the private respondent.


    Whether or not private respondent have any property right over the life of Moises Padilla since the latter was a public figure.


    Yes. While it is true that petitioner had purchased the rights to the book entitled “The Moises Padilla Story,” that did not dispense with the need for prior consent and authority from the deceased heirs to portray publicly episodes in said deceased’s life and in that of his mother and the members of his family. As held in Schuyler v. Curtis,” a privilege may be given the surviving relatives of a deceased person to protect his memory, but the privilege exists for the benefit of the living, to protect their feelings and to prevent a violation of their own rights in the character and memory of the deceased.”

    Being a public figure ipso facto does not automatically destroy in toto a person’s right to privacy. The right to invade a person’s privacy to disseminate public information does not extend to a fictional or novelized representation of a person, no matter how public a figure he or she may be. In the case at bar, while it is true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a true-to-life story of Moises Padilla, petitioner admits that he included a little romance in the film because without it, it would be a drab story of torture and brutality.



  2. Case Digest: Vivares et al. vs. St. Theresa’s College et al.

    1. “Nenita Julia V. Daluz (Julia) and Julienne Vida Suzara (Julienne), both minors, were, during the period material, graduating high school students at St. Theresa’s College (STC), Cebu City. Sometime in January 2012, while changing into their swimsuits for a beach party they were about to attend, Julia and Julienne, along with several others, took digital pictures of themselves clad only in their undergarments. These pictures were then uploaded by Angela Lindsay Tan (Angela) on her Facebook profile.”

    “Escudero’s students logged in to their respective personal Facebook accounts and showed her photos of the identified students, which include:

    (a) Julia and Julienne drinking hard liquor and smoking cigarettes inside a bar; and
    (b) Julia and Julienne along the streets of Cebu wearing articles of clothing that show virtually the entirety of their black brassieres.
    What is more, Escudero’s students claimed that there were times when access to or the availability of the identified students’ photos was not confined to the girls’ Facebook friends,but were, in fact, viewable by any Facebook user.”

    STC found the identified students to have deported themselves in a manner proscribed by the school’s Student Handbook, to wit:
    a. Possession of alcoholic drinks outside the school campus;
    b. Engaging in immoral, indecent, obscene or lewd acts;
    c. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages in public places;
    d. Apparel that exposes the underwear;
    e. Clothing that advocates unhealthy behaviour; depicts obscenity; contains sexually suggestive messages, language or symbols; and 6. Posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure.
    “as part of their penalty, they are barred from joining the commencement exercises scheduled on March 30, 2012”
    “Angela’s mother, Dr. Armenia M. Tan (Tan), filed a Petition for Injunction and Damages before the RTC of Cebu City against STC…the RTC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) allowing the students to attend the graduation ceremony, to which STC filed a motion for reconsideration…..STC, nevertheless, barred the sanctioned students from participating in the graduation rites, arguing that, on the date of the commencement exercises, its adverted motion for reconsideration on the issuance ofthe TRO remained unresolved…”

    The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook accounts was set at “Friends Only.” They, thus, have a reasonable expectation of privacy which must be respected….the girls, whose privacy has been invaded, are the victims in this case, and not the offenders…..Escudero, however, violated their rights by saving digital copies of the photos and by subsequently showing them to STC’s officials..”

    Whether or not writ of habeas data should be issued on the issue of whether the respondents violated the right to privacy in the life, liberty, or security of the minors?

    NO, The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party.The Supreme Court held that Saint Therese College did not violate petitioners’ daughters’ right to privacy, as the photos were viewable either by the minors’ Facebook friends, or even by the public.

    “petitioners failed to prove the existence of an actual or threatened violation of the minors’ right to privacy, one of the preconditions for the issuance of the writ of habeas data”. the photos, having been uploaded on Facebook without restrictions as to who may view them, lost their privacy in some way. Besides, the RTC noted, STC gathered the photographs through legal means and for a legal purpose, that is, the implementation of the school’s policies and rules on discipline.”

    “setting a post’s or profile detail’s privacy to “Friends” is no assurance that it can no longer be viewed by another user who is not Facebook friends with the source of the content. The user’s own Facebook friend can share said content or tag his or her own Facebook friend thereto, regardless of whether the user tagged by the latter is Facebook friends or not with the former. Also, when the post is shared or when a person is tagged, the respective Facebook friends of the person who shared the post or who was tagged can view the post, the privacy setting of which was set at “Friends.”

    “there can be no violation of their right to privacy as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook.”


  3. Miller Vs. California
    January 18, 1972
    413 U.S. 15 (1973)

    In 1971, Marvin Miller conducted a mass mailing campaign to advertise his business – a mail-order for pornographic materials. People who did not ask for such mailing received the advertisements. The said mailing displayed graphic and explicit sexual activity. A resident of Newport Beach, and his mother, received such mailing and reported it to the police.

    The advertisement was for books entitled “Intecourse,” “Man-Woman,” “Sex Orgies Illustrated,” and “An Illustrated History of Pornography,”, and a movie “Marital Intercourse.”

    California had a statute prohibiting the distribution of obscene materials. Miller was arrested and convicted for violating the statute. California lawmakers created the statute based on two earlier Supreme Court cases on obscenity, Memoirs v. Massachusetts[5] and Roth v. United States. In Memoirs, the Court determined that materials were obscene if it was both patently offensive and it was utterly without social value. Miller appealed his conviction to the state court of appeals.

    The jury was instructed by the judge to use the community standards of California to determine whether or not the materials are in fact, obscene.

    A certain police witness, having testified many times in earlier trials regarding obscenity, identified Miller’s materials as “patently obscene” according to the community standards of California.

    Is the sale and distribution of obscene materials by mail protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech guarantee?

    Obscene materials are not protected by the First Amendment.

    The Court held that the states have a reasonable interest against mass mailings that depict graphic and sexual imagery to unwilling recipients. The Court was able to refine state obscenity regulations regarding materials that are graphic and explicit.
    Prohibited conduct must be specifically defined by state law and must also be limited to works which, as a whole, appeal to a prurient interest in sex, portray sex in a patently offensive way and lacks serious literary, artistic, political and scientific value.
    The Court modified the test for obscenity used in Roth v. United States and Memoirs v. Massachusetts, holding that “[t]he basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be:
    Whether the average person would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest (apply contemporary community standards as opposed to national standard);
    Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
    Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
    The Court abandoned the “redeeming social value” test used in the Roth and Memoirs decisions and substituted this new test of “obscenity,” the so-called “Miller test.”




  4. People v. Amado V. Hernandez
    120 Phil. 191
    G.R. No. L-6025, 30 May 1964

    1. Amado V. Hernandez was charged with the crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and robberies in 1951 because he was a high-ranking officer of the Congress of Labor Organizations (CLO) and a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (PKP).
    2. During that time, the PKP and the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB) were actively engaged in an armed rebellion against the Government of the Philippines, and the CLO – as an active agency, organ, and instrumentality of the PKP – fully cooperated in and synchronized its activities with the activities of the HMB and PKP.
    3. In 1956, Amado V. Hernandez asked for bail with the court where his case was pending, but his request was denied. Thus, he filed a petition to the Supreme Court.
    4. Amado V. Hernandez took the oath as member of the Communist Party of the Philippines in October 1947, and he was given the pseudonyms of Victor and Soliman. He was also furnished copies of “Titis”, a Communist publication, as well as other publications of the Party.
    5. He held the position of President of the Congress of Labor Organizations, and he had close connections with the Secretariat of the Communist Party and held continuous communications with its leaders and its members.
    6. Evidence was received by the court that he made various speeches encouraging people to join in the Huk movement in the provinces. This was testified by Florentino Diolata, the official photographer of the CLO since August 1948.
    7. The Court found that there was a close tie-up between the Communist Party and the Congress of Labor Organizations, and that this Congress was organized by Hernandez in conjunction with other Huks.
    8. Guillermo Calayag, a Communist and a Huk from 1942 to 1950, explained that the ultimate goal of the Communist Party is to overthrow the present government by force of arms and violence, through armed revolution and replace it with the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat.
    a. He said that a good majority of the members of the Executive Committee and the Central Committee of the CLO were also top-ranking officials of the Communist Party.
    b. In addition, the CLO played its role in the overall Communist program of armed overthrow of the present government and its replacement by means of propaganda – by propagating the principles of Communism, by giving monetary aid, clothing, medicine and other forms of material help to the HMB. Local subversive publications were distributed as well. Principles of Communism were also propagated through lectures and meetings.
    c. The CLO also helped carry out the program of the Communist Party through infiltration of party members and selected leaders of the HMB within the trade unions under the control of the CLO. The Communist Party, through the CLO, assigned Communist Party leaders and organizers to different factories in order to organize unions.
    9. Important documents – such as those which proved that Hernandez was referred to as Victor or Soliman, and his letters and messages – were submitted at the trial. His activities – such as furnishing a portable typewriter as well as clothes and supplies to the Huks – were also reported.
    10. The lower court found Hernandez guilty as principal of the crime charged against him and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessories provided by law, and to pay the proportionate amount of the costs.

    Whether or not Amado V. Hernandez is guilty of committing rebellion or acts inciting to rebellion

    No. The Court’s study of the testimonial and documentary evidence, especially those cited by the Court in its decision and by the Solicitor General in his brief, discloses that defendant-appellant Amado V. Hernandez, as a Communist, was an active advocate of the principles of Communism, frequently exhorting his hearers to follow the footsteps of Taruc and join the uprising of the laboring classes against capitalism and more specifically against America and the Quirino administration, which he dubbed as a regime of puppets of American imperialism. But beyond the open advocacy of Communistic Theory there appears no evidence that he actually participated in the actual conspiracy to overthrow by force the constituted authority.

    1. Based on Guillermo Calayag’s testimony, it is apparent that the CLO was merely a stepping stone in the preparation of the laborers for the Communists’ ultimate revolution. The CLO had no function but that of indoctrination and preparation of the members for the uprising that would come. It was only a preparatory organization prior to revolution, not the revolution itself.
    2. The court below declares that since November 1949 the Communist Party of the Philippines had declared the existence of the revolutionary situation and since then the Party had gone underground. The seditious speeches of Hernandez took place before November 1949. The court below has not been able to point out, nor have We been able to find among all acts attributed to Hernandez, any single fact or act of his from which it may be inferred that he took part in the deliberations declaring the existence of a revolutionary situation, or that he had gone underground. As a matter of fact, the prosecution’s evidence is to the effect that Hernandez refused to go underground preferring to engage in what they consider the legal battle for the cause.
    3. There has been no evidence, direct or indirect, to relate or connect the appellant Hernandez with the uprising or the resolution to continue or maintain said uprising, his participation in the deliberations leading to the uprising being inferred only from the fact that he was a communist.
    4. The practice among the top Communists, as declared by the trial court appears to have been for important members, if they intend actually to join the rebellion, to go underground, which meant leaving the city, disappearing from sight and/or secretly joining the forces in the field. The lower court itself found that Hernandez remained in the City, engaged in the work of propaganda. The very act or conduct of his in refusing to go underground, in spite of the apparent desire of the chief of the rebellion, is clear proof of his non-participation in the conspiracy to engage in or to foster the rebellion or the uprising.
    5. The acts of the appellant as thus explained and analyzed fall under the category of acts of propaganda, but do not prove that he actually and in fact conspired with the leaders of the Communist Party in the uprising or in the actual rebellion, for which acts he is charged in the information.
    6. The advocacy of Communism or Communistic theory and principle is not to be considered as a criminal act of conspiracy unless transformed or converted into an advocacy of action.
    7. The appellant was a politician and a labor leader, and it is not unreasonable to suspect that his labor activities especially in connection with the CLO and other trade unions, were impelled and fostered by the desire to secure the labor vote to support his political ambitions.
    8. Insofar as the appellant’s alleged activities as a Communist are concerned, We have not found, nor has any particular act on his part been pointed to Us, which would indicate that he had advocated action or the use of force in securing the ends of Communism. Insofar as the furnishing of the mimeograph machine and clothes is concerned, it appears that he acted merely as an intermediary, who passed said machine and clothes on to others.
    9. The mere fact of his giving and rendering speeches favoring Communism would not make him guilty of conspiracy, because there was no evidence that the hearers of his speeches of propaganda then and there agreed to rise up in arms for the purpose of obtaining the overthrow of the democratic government as envisaged by the principles of Communism.


  5. The People of the Philippine Island v.s. J.J. Kottinger
    G.R. No. L-20569
    October 29, 1923


    On November 24, 1922, detective Juan Tolentino raided the Camera Supply Co. that was located at 110 Escolta, Manila. During the operation, he found and confiscated postcards depicting non-Christian inhabitants of the Philippines in their native attire and in poses showing how they go about their lives.
    The following were the postcards that were confiscated:
    -Exhibit A Philippines, Bontoc Woman
    -Exhibit A-1 Greeting from the Philippines (depicting five young boys)
    -Exhibit A-2 Ifugao Belle, Philippines
    -Exhibit A-3 Igorrot Girl, Rice Field Costume
    -Exhibit A-4 Kalinga Girls, Philippines
    -Exhibit A-5 Moros, Philippines
    Out of these facts arose the criminal prosecution of J. J. Kottinger in the Court of First Instance of Manila. The information filed in court charged him with having kept for sale in the store of the Camera Supply Co., obscene and indecent pictures, in violation of section 12 of Act No. 277 (The Philippine Libel Law).
    The defendant interposed a demurrer based upon the ground that the facts alleged therein did not constitute an offense and were not contrary to law. The trial court, however, overruled the demurrer and found the defendant guilty of the offense.
    J.J. Kottinger was sentenced to pay a fine of P50 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and the costs
    The defendant appealed, with five errors divided to two main issues of the court at hand:
    -Technical Objection
    -Decisive Issue


    Whether or not the pictures portraying the inhabitants of the country in native dresses and as they appear and can be seen in the regions in which they live, are obscene/indecent


    NO. The natives in the photos are simply wearing the clothes they normally wear; hence, were not offensive to chastity. The pictures did not shock the moral sense of the people, nor aggregate them. Judgement was reversed, information dismissed, and the defendant-appellant was acquitted with all cost de oficio.


    The prosecution was unable to provide evidence that the postcards were obscene, other than the post-cards themselves.
    Dr. H. Otley Beyer, Professor in the University of the Philippines, corroborated by other witnesses, testified from his studies in various parts of the Islands, such as the Mountain Province, Abra, Palawan, and Mindanao and Sulu, that none of the pictures represented poses which he had not observed on various occasions, and that the costumes worn by the people in the pictures are the true costumes regularly worn by them.
    Unclear definitions of “obscenity” and “indecency” as these are not defined by the Philippine statutes
    -“Obscenity” – may be defined as meaning something offensive to chastity, decency, or delicacy
    -“Indecency” -is an act against behavior and a just delicacy
    The postcards in question do not corrupt the minds of those who are open to such immoral influences and does not suggest to the minds of the young of sex or even to persons of more advanced years, thoughts of the most impure or libidinous acts
    Legal publications that contain photos that are of the same nature exist:
    -Barton’s “Ifugao Law”
    -“Philippine Journal of Science” October 1906
    -Reports of Philippine Commission 1903, 1912, and 1913.

    Source: http://www.chanrobles.com/scdecisions/jurisprudence1923/oct1923/gr_l-20569_1923.php


  6. REPORT ON REPUBLIC ACT No. 9995 (aka, Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009, as per Sec. 1)


    The law’s goal is to protect the dignity and privacy of every person. To do this, the RA makes certain acts illegal to prosecute people who violate people’s dignity and privacy (Sec. 2).

    This law defines the following (Sec. 3):
    (a ) Broadcast – to make images public
    (b) Capture – to photograph or film something
    (c) Female Breast – any part of the female breast
    (d) Photo or video voyeurism – the act of taking photos or videos of people in sexual situations or in a sexual manner without consent
    (e) Private area of a person – genitals, female breast, buttocks and other similar areas

    People expect a reasonable expectation of privacy when doing certain acts, and it is under this expectation when filming or photographing becomes illegal.

    Prohibited acts are as follows (Sec. 4):
    (a) to take photo or video coverage of a person performing sexual acts or of a private area without consent when the person expects a reasonable expectation of privacy
    (b) to copy or reproduce, or to be involved in the copying or reproduction of such acts
    (c) to sell or distribute, or to be involved in the selling or distribution of such acts
    (d) to publish or broadcast, or to be involved in the publishing or broadcasting of such acts

    Penalties include 3-7 years imprisonment and P100,000 to P500,000, as well as the revocation of license for franchises, administrative liability for public officers, and deportation for aliens (Sec. 5).

    Officers can be exempted if they obtain an order from the court allowing them to participate in such acts, but officers must prove that this is necessary for the case (Sec. 6). Evidence obtained in violation of proceedings are inadmissible in court (Sec. 7).

    Examples of violation of the RA 9995

    A. ‘Pampatulog ko’: 69 anyos lolo buking sa pamboboso sa pag-aaring dorm


    B. ‘Pastor Hokage’ FB groups trading lewd photos of women exposed


    C. DVDs of Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili sex scandal floode quiapo


    D. Lady senators make a stand vs. showing of De Lima ‘sex tape’


    Slides link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/17jTnHVLYg2eUaNbGyyUEB2rqo_A7kaAg?fbclid=IwAR0OdcuQ62wbKdI05Wjp6nptt0EZ6OmFM-qbDvNCszyftQW4LqCaUMh84v8


  7. Ayer Productions vs Capulong-Enrile
    160 SCRA 861

    1. The proposed motion picture entitled “The Four Day Revolution” was endorsed by the Movie Television Review and Classification Board as well as the other government agencies consulted. General Fidel Ramos also signified his approval of the intended film production.
    2. In a letter dated 16 December 1987, petitioner Hal McElroy informed private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile about the projected motion picture enclosing a synopsis of it.
    3. On 21 December 1987, private respondent Enrile replied that “[he] would not and will not approve of the use, appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his name, or picture, or that of any member of his family in any cinema or television production, film or other medium for advertising or commercial exploitation”
    4. Respondent court issued a writ of Preliminary Injunction against the petitioners, ordering the defendants to cease and desist from producing and filming the mini-series entitled ‘The Four Day Revolution” and from making any reference whatsoever to plaintiff or his family and from creating any fictitious character in lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on, or bears rent substantial or marked resemblance or similarity to, or is otherwise Identifiable with, plaintiff in the production and any similar film or photoplay.
    5. the Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order partially enjoining the implementation of the respondent Judge’s Order of 16 March 1988 and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein, and allowing the petitioners to resume producing and filming those portions of the projected mini-series which do not make any reference to private respondent or his family or to any fictitious character based on or respondent.
    Whether or not the film violated Juan Ponce Enrile’s right to privacy.

    NO. Whether the “balancing of interests test” or the clear and present danger test” be applied in respect of the instant Petitions, the Court believes that a different conclusion must here be reached: The production and filming by petitioners of the projected motion picture “The Four Day Revolution” does not, in the circumstances of this case, constitute an unlawful intrusion upon private respondent’s “right of privacy.”

    1. No one knows what the completed film would look like. There is no “clear and present danger” of any violation of any right to privacy could lawfully assert.
    2. Subject matter is one of public interest and concern. The film is not principally about Juan Ponce Enrile.
    3. The extent of the intrusion to Enrile’s private life that would be entailed in the film would be limited in character.
    4. The motion picture must be fairly truthful and historical in its presentation of events.


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