January 11, 2010

Rico vs Gibo (part 2)

WHAT'S this I hear that the advertising company which had commissioned Rico Blanco to compose the song 'Posible' for use in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games held in Manila, may also be issuing a press statement soon asking PaLaKa presidential candidate, Gilbert Teodoro, to cease and desist from airing his political ad w/c uses the song?

The song, w/c was actually the official SEA Games song that year, was performed by Rivermaya w/ the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra at the conclusion of the Games' opening ceremony at the Quirino Grandstand, in Manila. It was also used by Globe Telecoms in its SEA Games TV ad, w/c we found on the DailyMotion website.

Accdg. to the country's Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines: "178.4. In the case of a work-commissioned by a person other than an employer of the author and who pays for it and the work is made in pursuance of the commission, the person who so commissioned the work shall have ownership of work, but the copyright thereto shall remain with the creator, unless there is a written stipulation to the contrary;"


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MEANWHILE, the root cause of the issue between artist Rico Blanco and the Gibo campaign, really stems from the fact that Blanco's former manager when he was still with Rivermaya, Lizza Nakpil, apparently copyrighted the songs of the band. This is not an illegal act, as far as I know. Btw, Nakpil also had registered the band's name with the Intellectual Property Office. Smart girl that one, but I see her point, having had a hand in forming the band itself.

(Lizza Nakpil photo from pep.ph)

With the copyright of "Posible' in her possession, she was able to sell rights for use of the song to Dennis Garcia, formerly of the Hotdog band, who was commissioned by the Gibo camp to make a jingle for the presidentiable's ad. Talk is the amount that changed hands was about P200,000 for the song's use. And I understand Mr. Garcia's point completely that after he found who held the actual copyright of said song, he proceeded to deal with Nakpil. (Pls refer to Mr. Garcia's statement in the comments section of my earlier post on this issue.)

Now, I'm no musician nor a lawyer, just someone who is particular about my P's and Q's, so I understand also where Rico Blanco is coming from. He is, after all, the composer of the song and all Mr. Garcia had to do was pick up the phone - composer to composer, or artist to artist, if you will – and inform him about his plan to make it into a campaign jingle. For all we know, Blanco would've given his wholehearted support to this endeavor, considering that Gibo was actually in his personal shortlist of presidential candidates.

Sadly, to this day, Mr. Garcia has never even tried to contact Blanco personally to talk about the issue, accdg. to the latter's camp, and has just let Gibo's lawyers talk to Warner Music, which manages Blanco. The one who actually contacted Blanco to explain Garcia's side is the latter's nephew, Toti Dalmacion, who's a music promoter I believe. In fact, it seems that the burden of proof of ownership of the song, has been forced on Blanco, the composer. Weird ano?

So maybe there was no actual malice in Mr. Garcia's heart when he proceeded to use the song bec. he was secure in the knowledge that he had gotten all copyright permissions squared away. But the fact remains, nabastos si Blanco. And when he initially tried to inquire w/ Gibo's camp why they used his song w/o his permission, "they gave him the runaround," accdg. to Blanco's publicist Peachy Guioguio.

For Rico Blanco's press statement, click here.

Accdg. to Guioguio, Blanco is very concerned about this alleged IPR violation bec. if it can be perpetrated on a name artist like him, it can be done to even small composers who have yet to break in the industry.

"Now all that Rico wants, is for the Gibo campaign to stop airing this ad." Period. The publicist also told me that Blanco is not suing Gibo yet bec. he is giving the presidentiable's camp the time to comply w/ his request. (Baka nagpapa-IPR seminar pa sila ke VP-able Edu, hehe.)

In my personal research, this is what I found. As per the IPR law, copyright of an artistic work w/c includes musical compositions is "protected from the moment of their creation and shall include in particular: .... (f) Musical compositions, with or without words;" (Underscoring mine.)

Further in Chapter 6 of said law: "Copyright ownership shall be governed by the following rules: .... 178.5. In the case of audiovisual work, the copyright shall belong to the producer, the author of the scenario, the composer of the music, the film director, and the author of the work so adapted. However, subject to contrary or other stipulations among the creators, the producers shall exercise the copyright to an extent required for the exhibition of the work in any manner, except for the right to collect performing license fees for the performance of musical compositions, with or without words, which are incorporated into the work;"

Now this is a lesson for all you composers out there, start registering your songs w/ the proper gov't agencies like the National Museum or the IPO the minute you complete them, no matter how short or long these may be. This may save you from hassles similar to that of Rico Blanco's in the future.

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