CTTO. You’ve probably seen this term so many times on Facebook that you’re wondering what it means and what it has to do with a particular post. So what is the meaning of CTTO and why are people using it on their Facebook posts?
The acronym CTTO means Credit to the Owner and is widely used to give credit to the original owner or creator of the content that is being shared on social media – whether it is a picture, video clip, news article, essay, opinion, story, or meme. When a person wishes to share something that they are not the original creator or author of, they usually include “CTTO” in the post or caption and sometimes as a hashtag (#CTTO).
CTTO is only used when the person reposts the copied content under their name or social media account, and not when they share the content using the share button. For example, if a person wants to share a poem that they saw somewhere in the Internet to a Facebook profile, page or group, they copy that poem and then add “CTTO” at the end of the post.
The usage of CTTO is pretty commonplace in social media sites nowadays but is it really the correct and proper way to give credit to the original author or creator? Does it protect you from legal issues arising from the unauthorized usage of copyrighted works?
Copyright and the Fair Use Doctrine
According to Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, literary and artistic works are “protected by the sole fact of their creation, irrespective of their mode or form of expression, as well as of their content, quality and purpose.” The law also states that “in the case of original literary and artistic works, copyright shall belong to the author of the work,” except when the work is commissioned or created under the course of employment.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) defines copyright as the legal protection extended to the owner of the rights in an original work. “Original work” refers to every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain.
Examples of literary and artistic works that are covered by copyright are books, articles and other writings, letters, musical compositions, drawings and paintings, films, photographs, and computer programs.
Copyright infringement happens when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, published, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner. In the Philippines, copyright infringement is punishable by 1 to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of ₱50,000 to ₱150,000 for the first offense.
However, under certain circumstances, the use of copyrighted material without the permission of the author may fall under the concept of fair use. Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows the use of copyrighted work for commentary, criticism, news, research, reporting, teaching, and similar purposes. Whether or not the use of copyrighted material constitutes fair use is subject to the following factors:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;
- The nature of the copyrighted work;
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Should You Use CTTO?
A common misconception is that works that are published on the Internet are not protected by copyright. Because of this, many Internet users take the liberty to copy, modify and share anything that they see online.
Existing laws including the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, however, consider works published in electronic format (e.g. images, videos, software) as protected by copyright from the moment that they are created. Any original work published on the Internet must have the permission of the copyright owner before it can be copied or distributed by someone else, except when it falls under the principles of fair use.
But should you use “CTTO” to give credit to the copyright owner, particularly in social media sites like Facebook? The Intellectual Property Code in Chapter VIII, Section 184 specifically states that if the act of using the original author’s work is compatible with fair use, and provided that the source and the name of the author (if appearing on the work) are mentioned, then it does not constitute copyright infringement.
This means that putting “CTTO” in your social media posts may not be enough to satisfy the requirements of the law, which is to mention the source and the name of the author (if available) – even if your usage falls under fair use and you may not need to ask the permission of the copyright owner.
In summary, you should avoid using CTTO because it is not the correct way to give credit to the copyright owner. Doing so may open you to legal troubles if the original author decides to pursue a copyright infringement case against you (although such cases are rare in the context of social media).
What is the Correct Way to Give Credit to the Copyright Owner?
The correct and proper way to give credit to the copyright owner is to include the source and the name of the original author or creator. For example, if you want to share a breathtaking photo of the Chocolate Hills on your Facebook page, you could write something like Photo by Juan dela Cruz” or “Source: www.tourism.gov.ph” or “Photo credit: Department of Tourism.”
By all means possible, you should also ask the permission of the copyright owner before copying or reproducing his original work. You’ll be surprised at how receptive people are when you gently request them to use their work with their permission. Don’t forget to mention when and where you will use their original work so that they can check if they are given the proper attribution.
If you think that your use of someone’s original work is covered by fair use (e.g. educational and non-commercial use), you probably have little to worry about as long as you provide the proper credits. However, fair use is often evaluated by the courts and on a case-to-case basis, so it’s better to ask the opinion of a lawyer first.
Using CTTO in your Facebook posts might be easy and hardly takes any effort, but it’s not the correct and proper way to give credit to the original author or creator. Whatever it is that you are sharing, make sure that you include the source and the name of the author or creator. That way, you not only avoid potential legal issues, you also give the original creator the respect and recognition that they truly deserve.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.