The entire publishing industry lost an estimated P3.6 billion in the pandemic year 2020, more than half of the P6 billion average revenue pre-COVID, according to a top industry official. 

Alvin J. Buenaventura, executive director Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc. (FILCOLS), revealed the estimated losses of the publishing sector at the virtual 1st Philippine International Copyright Summit press launch.

Bueventura quoted the National Book Development Board (NBDB) website, which he said, stated that the book industry’s average revenue pre-COVID was P6 billion. “Based on these, I would estimate the loss of the book industry to P3.6 billion,” he said.

FILCOLS is the collective management organization (CMO) for the publishing sector. Accredited by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines and the Brussels-based International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO), FILCOLS acts as a bridge between the end users and rights holders. It collects the fees for authors and publishers.

Buenaventura noted the year 2020 when the Department of Education ordered the module learning due to the pandemic. He said that developing learning materials like textbooks and modules require a different skill set. 

Because of this system, he said, this resulted in market failure and loss of income for authors and publishers. He cited of exploitation of a work  during the pandemic. 

According to Buenaventura,  after the book is published and sold, no one is supposed to reproduce it without the author’s permission unless it is covered by fair use.

“Sadly, there is a culture of unfair use masquerading as fair use in our country. And DepEd, unfortunately, is the main proponent of this culture,” he said.

For FILCOLS, he said, this is a violation of the Book Publishing Industry Development Act or RA 8047.

Guided by the minimum learning competencies, he said, publishers shall produce and supply the textbooks as ordered by the department. (RA 8047, Section 11).

DepEd provides the guidelines while NBDB accredits the private publishers, and the private publishers provide the learning materials like textbooks. DepED will reproduce the learning modules.

In addition, Buenaventura said that DepEd is still determining the appropriate fees for the publishers and authors.   NBDB Chairperson Dante Francis M. Ang II reacted to FILCOLS’ speech saying: “I think I will have to meet with Mr. Buenaventura and FILCOLS offline after this event because I think there are some things we can work together with regard to textbook copyright.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (