First Philippines copyright summit to champion ‘creative rights’ education

Artists and creators entertain and inspire the public through their craft. They keep everyone’s mental and physical well-being intact. These creative people even document the milieu of the times. With that, their work and creativity deserve admiration and proper acknowledgement from the public.

This is the crux behind the recent launch of the first Philippine International Copyright Summit (PICS), mounted by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights (BCRR). The event was attended by personalities from creative and copyright-based industries. PICS with “United in Copyright” as theme will happen from Nov. 22 to 26.

Among the panelists, who graced the kick-off and shared their thoughts on copyright, were Noel Cabangon, trustee of the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Inc. (FILSCAP); Mitch Valdes of the Performers’ Rights Society of the Philippines (PRSP); and Undersecretary Liza Diño, chairperson and CEO of Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

Mitch Valdes of the Performers’ Rights Society of the Philippines

Photos courtesy of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines

“Copyright is very important to creators as it provides a legal mechanism for them to derive value from their original creations,” said Noel. “It, therefore, incentivizes the creation of original artistic and literary works, which in turn, contributes to the growth of the economy and the enrichment of culture. While there’s still the problem of public awareness for some of the rights of copyright owners… another major problem for copyright owners now is the improper appreciation or valuation of their intellectual creations.”

According to the singer-composer, many music users still question the need to secure a license for copyrighted works, especially when used on social media. The issue on licensing digital service providers needs to be addressed and Noel considered it “very complicated” because of “fragmentation of rights.”

Liza Diño, chairperson and CEO of Film Development Council of the Philippines

Speaking of rights, FILSCAP, said Noel, “grants music users the legal permission to publicly play, broadcast, stream or reproduce in certain cases any copyrighted local and international music compositions of its members and the members of its affiliate foreign societies.” The non-stock, non-profit association also has agreements with foreign societies in protecting the works of its members abroad.

Part of the creative production is the group of performers interpreting the authors’ work. Mitch had this to say on why performers and artists require users of their performances to give them remuneration.

“The authors have the primary claim to their works definitely,” said she. “Performers, who are called interpreters of original works, are also deserving of remuneration from their works. This is where the bottleneck has started. The public perception is that you have been paid once for your performance, so we can use it anytime for free.

“Unfortunately, that is not the case. When you’re using it again and again and you earn an income from the product of the performer. Then, it is only fair that the performer gets remuneration. It’s called related rights.”

These rights acknowledge the work of singers, musicians and dancers, who, said Mitch, “have entertained you in a year and a half of pandemic for free, all the performers who put out their work… We are thankful that the international organizations started this. We have been learning from them. They have been generously inviting us to seminars and how to push performers’ copyrights.”

Through the help of government agencies such as IPOPHL and Pangasinan’s Fourth District Rep. Christopher de Venecia, Mitch added that “We are threshing out a fair, just and equitable distribution of remuneration. It’s very hard to accept that the music that you hear is not free. It’s also very hard to accept that when you watch a television program, you don’t tape it and share it because this has been invested in by a lot of people who own that work. That is the guiding principle from me in layman’s terms on what is performance copyrights.”

Liza, for her part, was glad that IPOPHL and copyright-based industries found the intersectionality or the common ground, “where we can all work together to champion the importance of understanding copyright and other related rights so we can really progress as a creative sector,” said she. “We (at the FDCP) have spent the last almost five years of empowering the various sectors in the film industry to elevate the quality of Filipino filmmaking and promote Philippine cinema all over the world.”

“Malalim po ang usapin pagdating sa copyright,” added she. “Of course, nandyan po yung rights na dapat na binibigay natin sa mga creators at related rights na binibigay po natin sa mga bumubuo po nang isang nililikha natin. Pero kailangan din po nating pag-usapan ay ang legal framework kung ano ho ba o hanggang saan ba ang nararating ng isang creative work, hanggang saan ho ba ang pwedeng rights na i-optimize ng isang producer ‘pag dating sa isang pelikula o sa isang content because maybe this is also what would allow for our producers to provide these rights, these remuneration rights, these royalties for other creators.”

The talk on copyright has just started and will culminate in a week-long summit in November with IPOPHL and the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights in discussing, as shared from the statement given to media, “the latest trends and challenges in copyright regulations and enforcement, including curbing infringement in the country and helping creators have greater control over their copyright and related rights.”

The event will be done in a hybrid format and replete with such activities as book fairs and launches, business matching, cultural presentations and concerts, dialogues, film and animation festival and online art exhibits.

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