Friday, February 4, 2011

FILCOLS Huntahan in Pangasinan: A Success. As in!

It wasn’t just another HUNTAHAN.

FILCOLS Huntahan in Pangasinan, an informal discussion about writing, publishing, copyright and IP, suddenly turned into a mini- Talentadong Pinoy show. It was a morning, noon and afternoon filled with IP information and…fun!

The unforgettable Huntahan was held last 28 January 2011 at the Conference Room, Malong Building, Pangasinan Provincial Capitol Complex, Lingayen, Pangasinan.

At exactly 9:40 a.m., Renato Santillan led everyone in singing the National Anthem. Then Mrs. Malu Amor-Elduayan of Pangasinan Provincial Tourism Office welcomed the guests and participants not only to the event but to the whole province of Pangasinan as well. She was happy to greet everyone especially visitors from Manila. She said that the province's name came from the word Panag-asinan, a place where asin or salt is made. Long time ago, asin was Pangasinan's number one industry.

Ulupan na Pansiansiay Salitan Pangasinan’s (UPSP) president Erwin Fernandez welcomed FILCOLS and UMPIL. He expressed satisfaction that the long days of planning the event has borne fruit. Erwin was delighted to see that a lot of UPSP members are interested to know their rights as writers.

Alvin J. Buenaventura, the Executive Director of FILCOLS or Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc., started the lecture on basic copyright with an anecdote from World War II. He mentioned a gory scene from that historic era to illustrate the need to respect human rights. Then he went on to discuss the authors’ rights as a human right as well. He also talked about the foundations of reproduction rights organizations. He introduced the concepts of CMO and then mentioned IFRRO and FILSCAP.

A sumptuous lunch was sponsored by Pangasinan Provincial Tourism Office.

Immediately after lunch, the participants rushed back to the venue to listen to Engr. Abdon Balde Jr., Chairperson of Unyon ng Mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL). He talked about the benefits of forming and joining writers organizations. He also talked about the business side of writing and publishing industry. A writer from the regions himself, he encouraged everyone to write in Pangasinan language as well. Before his talk ended, he promised to get in touch with the branch manager of National Book Store Pangasinan to see what he can do to help market "Tagano Ed Kelang," UPSP’s latest literary anthology.

After the talks came the question and answer portion of the program.

Lazaro Millanes asked if FILCOLS can do something to help him in the preservation of Pangasinan folk songs he has recorded. He also wanted to have some note sheets registered. He asked if FILCOLS can help him get ISMN or International Standard Music Number. Alvin Buenaventura said that only the National Library of the Philippines issues ISMN.

Erwin Fernandez inquired about permission to translate a short story of Manuel Arguilla. It was published during the Japanese War. Alvin replied that if the story is already out of copyright, he can translate it without asking for permission from anyone. But if he is going to translate it from a recent republication of that same story, he must seek permission from the publisher (the recent one.)

Malu Amor-Elduayan shared her experiences in dealing with a printing company. She and a team from her office authored articles and took photos for a Department of Tourism Pangasinan brochure. Then she sent their works to the printing company. She and the team from her office were very surprised and disappointed to see a man's name on a corner side of the brochure. It seemed that he was getting credits from the works he never created. She asked FILCOLS if she and her team can complain about that incident even if the brochure and its contents were considered government works.

Alvin confirmed that government works do not have copyright. But it is still advisable to seek permission before using a government work and properly attribute the source or author. It must also be clear that a certain text or image should not be used in another publication without the permission of the office or person in charge. There should be contracts. And these should be stated in the contracts. If someone is trying to take credit for somebody else’s work, that is plagiarism in the making.

Rodrigo Javier of Pangasinan State University stated a situation where the author, after submitting an edition of a text book to a publisher, goes to another publisher after some time to submit another edition of the same text book. He asked if the author’s move was legal.

Alvin said that the author should check the contract first. If the author and the publisher share copyright, the author still has the right to send another edition to another publisher. But it is good practice to wait until the copies of the edition published by the first publisher have been sold out. So that the author and the new publisher will not be directly competing against the first publisher.

Sonny Villafania asked how he could get in touch with an organization in Romania that included one of his poems translated in Arabic in one of its publications. No one approached him to seek for his permit and absolutely no royalty was paid to him.

Alvin asked for the details of the book where Sonny’s poem was included. He will try to get in touch with the publisher and inquire about it.

Mrs. Elnora B. Dudang of Pangasinan State University, before throwing her question to the FILCOLS representative, recited a poem entitled Say Buek. She read it in two languages.

Here’s the poem in Pangasinan:
Say Buek

Say Buek ed olo:
Makapal, manorot.

Buek ed kirep:
Makapal, babagot-bagoten.

Buek ed eleng:
Napnoy kolangot.

Buek ed kilikili:

Buek ed leksab:

And in Filipino:

Ang Buhok

Buhok sa ulo:
Makapal, napapanot.

Buhok sa kilay:
Makapal, binubunot.

Buhok sa kilikili:
Ay! Mabantot!

Buhok sa ibaba:
Kulot na kulot.

Ang buhok, bow!

Everyone couldn’t stop laughing.

Then Mam Elnora asked Alvin if it’s okay to publish a compilation of laboratory exercises and activity sheets she found in different books. These exercises and sheets were for classroom use only. But she thought that these can be turned into a book.

Alvin said she may compile the materials for her own class only. People who compile articles, sheets and other written works are also called authors. But if she plans to have them published as a book then she has to create her own and just use the original exercises and sheets as inspiration.

Rodrigo Javier asked about IP policies in the academe. He wanted to know if it’s alright to copy portions of a student’s research and include it in one’s own research. He said that a lot of professors in some graduate schools are already doing this.

Alvin reiterated that the original author must be acknowledged at all times. Higher educational institutions are encouraged to create and implement their own IP policies to give more protection to their own authors and researchers as well.

Larry Millanes mentioned that UPSP helped in the publication of his wife’s book. UPSP acted as the publisher. UPSP lent the business registration and SEC registration and other legal and trade documents for the publication of the book.

Sonny Villafania warned everyone about some unscrupulous individuals in the
who are selling books written by other people. They act as if they are the legitimate publishers of these books. They use publish on demand system and ship the books to the unknowing buyers.

The question and answer portion ended with an entertaining number from one of the participants. Larry Millanes sang a song that he wrote and composed. The title is Pinabling Pangasinan. In Filipino, Minamahal kong Pangasinan. He performed it passionately. Everyone was impressed!

Mrs. Felicitas invited everyone to purchase Balon Silew, a magazine written in Pangasinan. Then she gave copies of it and copies of Tagano Ed Kelang to the FILCOLS and UMPIL team.

Beverly Siy, the Executive Officer of FILCOLS, delivered the closing remarks. She expressed gratitude to the co-organizers of the event: the Pangasinan Provincial Tourism Office led by Mrs. Malu Amor-Elduayan and Ulupan na Pansiansiay Salitan Pangasinan (UPSP) led by Erwin Fernandez. She also thanked Prof. Crisanta Nelmida-Flores and Santiago Villafania for their invaluable help during the planning phase of FILCOLS Huntahan in Pangasinan Project.

It was indeed a very productive afternoon. Fun in learning made this session a successful one.

FILCOLS receives support from the Norwegian Copyright Development Association (NORCODE) and Kopinor. NORCODE is an international copyright development group funded by five copyright societies namely KOPINOR, GRAMO, TONO, BONO and NORWACO. KOPINOR is the reproduction rights (RRO) of Norway while FILCOLS is the RRO of the Philippines.

Written by Beverly W. Siy

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