PERFORMERS, as defined by the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines Section 202, are the actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and other persons who act, sing, declaim, play in, interpret, or otherwise perform literary and artistic work. They are first and foremost, artists. Artists derive their income from performing in these various fields and leave the business side of it to their so-called managers to manage their incomes. Many do not have managers. Thus, most of the time, these artists who have no inkling as to how to manage their affairs are prone to abuse specially in the aspect of copyright protection.
The Performers’ Rights Society of the Philippines (PRSP) aims to perform this exact function of protecting intellectual property of these artists in applying as a CMO or a Collective Management Organization with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). In receiving its application, IPOPHIL Director General Ric Blancaflor explained that the group will collect royalties for its member performers and enforce the right of the performer to collect for subsequent performances of his recorded works.
“Once we accredit them (PRSP), they have the right to negotiate for the royalties of the performers. So instead of individual performers running after producers, it will be the organization that will do it for them,” Blancaflor added.
CMOs are organizations that enforce the copyright of the copyright holders. Through this mandate, IPOPHL will be able to monitor and promote good corporate governance among CMOs, benefiting not only the rights holders themselves but also the users of copyrighted works.
As CMO, PRSP will initially release the collection directly to the performer once a year but as the operation progresses, distribution can be done twice or more in a year which will last for fifty (50) years from the end of the year in which the performances and recordings took place.
“This will be our legacy to our fellow performers,” said John Lesaca, the PRSP’s Treasurer and Acting General Manager, as their organization strengthens the copyright protection of many Filipino artists.
Members of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), mall owners, restaurants, and other heavy users of music in their establishments will greatly benefit from this provision, as they are ensured that only legitimate collecting agencies can collect royalties from them on behalf of copyright owners.
IPOPHL has already accredited the Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society (FILCOLS) and the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (FILSCAP) as CMOs collecting fees for books and musical works, respectively.
In a 2006 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) study on copyright industries, it showed that Philippine copyright-based industries contribute 4.92% to the GDP and 11.1% to national employment of the country. Just imagine how much more it can contribute if properly enforced. It’s about time!
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