20th Century Fox Film Corporation v CA; G.R. Nos. L-76649-51; 19 Aug 1988; 162 SCRA 655

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The National Bureau of Investigation conducted surveillance and investigation of the outlets complained by petitioners to be violating Presidential Decree No. 49 (Protection of Intellectual Property). Subsequently, three search warrants were issued and executed against the video outlets owned by private respondents. However, the lower court issued an order lifting the said search warrants.

Whether or not the search warrants were valid.

NO. That lacking in the requisite presentation to the Court of an alleged master ape for purposes of comparison with the purchased evidence of the video tapes allegedly pirated and those seized from respondents, there was no way to determine whether there really was piracy, or copying of the film of the complainant. This linkage of the copyrighted films to the pirated films must be established to satisfy the requirements of probable cause. Mere allegations as to the existence of the copyrighted films cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant.

Petition is DISMISSED. The questioned decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.

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