Act No. 1851

An Act To Provide For The Protection Of Rights Of Property In Telegraphic Messages, And To Prevent The Forging Or Improper Disclosure Of Telegrams

Act No. 1851

By authority of the United States, be it enacted by the Philippine Commission, that:

Section 1. The short title of this Act shall be “The Telegraph Message Act.”

Section 2. Whenever any message transmitted by telegraph from any point in the Philippine Islands to another in said Islands, or from any point outside of the Philippine Islands to any point in the said Islands, shall be received by any person, association, or corporation in the Philippine Islands for the purpose of publication in any newspaper or by printed circular or otherwise, no other person, association or corporation shall, without the consent in writing of such person, association or corporation by whom such message shall have been received, print or publish in any newspaper, in any printed circular, or in any other form of communication, nor transmit to the provinces by telegram for the purpose of publication, such telegraphic message or the substance thereof or any extract therefrom until after the expiration of forty-eight hours from the time of the first publication of such message by the person, association, or corporation receiving the same, or within sixty hours from the time of the receipt, in the Philippine Islands, of such message by such person, association, or corporation: Provided, however, That the publication of any similar message lawfully received in like manner by another person, association, or corporation shall not be deemed or taken to be a publication of such first-mentioned message within the meaning of this Act.

Section 3. Every telegraphic message, in respect to which the protection of this Act may be claimed, shall be published with the heading “By telegraph,” together with the name of the person, association, or corporation claiming such protection, and the notations of the original telegram as to the hour and date of receipt, the address, the place from which received, and the number of words in the telegram in the telegram, and the hour of its publication shall be prima facie evidence that the original telegram was received by the addressee from the place therein mentioned at such hour and date, and also of the number of words received.

Section 4. Any person who wilfully forges or substantially alters a telegram or who utters a telegram knowing the same to be forged, or who utters as a telegram any message or communication which he knows to be not a telegram, shall upon conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred pesos.

Section 5. As used in this Act, the word “telegram” is defined to mean a written or printed message or communication sent to or delivered at a post-office or the office of a telegraph company for transmission by telegraph or delivery by the post-office or a telegraph company as a message or communication transmitted by telegraph.

Section 6. As used in this Act, the term “telegraph company” shall include all persons, association, or corporations engaged in the business of receiving and sending, for hire, telegrams for the public, and this Act shall apply to all private messages intended for newspaper publication sent over telegraph lines owned or operated by the Government of the Philippine Islands or the United States military authorities in said Islands now or hereafter open to public use.

Section 7. Any officer or employee of a telegraph company who shall improperly divulge to any person the contents or purport of any telegram received or transmitted by such company, upon exceeding six months or by a fine not exceeding two hundred pesos or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Section 8. If any association or corporation shall print, publish, or cause to be printed or published, the contents or purport of any telegram, in violation of the provisions of this Act, such association or corporation, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred pesos for each offense, and any person, member, or employee of any association or corporation who shall print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, the contents or purport of a telegram, or shall aid, abet, or assist such printing or publication, or who shall voluntarily permit the same, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two hundred pesos for each offense, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Section 9. This Act shall take effect on its passage.