Monday, February 7, 2011

Post event FILCOLS Huntahan sa Diliman

FILCOLS Huntahan in Diliman, an informal discussion about writing, copyright, intellectual property and the film and TV industry was held last 6 February 2011 at the Videotheque Room, Film Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

FILCOLS Huntahan sa Diliman was conceived last year when FILCOLS met Libay Linsangan Cantor, a writer from a major TV network, at a conference of the National Book Development Board.

FILCOLS started sending out invitations last December. By mid-January 2011, FILCOLS had almost 40 names in the pre-registration list.

On February 6, the event day itself, it was already 1:00 p.m. but still, only a handful of writers have registered and were comfortably sitting inside the venue.

Alvin Buenaventura, the Executive Director of Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, wasn’t discouraged. He told everyone that the event will still push through.

At exactly 1:30 p.m., the program started.

Buenaventura started his talk on reproduction rights organizations, copyright, IP and its role in the lives of the writers.

Light merienda was served after.

The participants had the chance to get to know each other while having their snacks. They had diverse backgrounds and affiliations. Some came from Bulacan State University, M. Power Productions, Star Cinema, UP Film Institute, The Philippine Courier, Precious Pages Corporation, New Era University, ABS-CBN, Ambitgoya Books and Bigtop/TV5. Some were freelance writers and independent producers. Two professors and a student joined the session. There was also a director, writer/publisher and blogger.

After the snacks, Atty. Calvario, the head of Copyright Support Services of Intellectual Property of the Philippines, started discussing the basics of copyright.
Some participants could not hold out their questions anymore. So they asked Atty. Calvario as he presented the information and examples from different court cases.

Libay Linsangan Cantor asked if a writer should receive royalties in this situation: the writer was already given payment for writing the script of one episode of a TV show, then the producers decided to

1. include that particular episode in a DVD compilation and sold them as well
2. and air the episode again after some time.

Atty. Calvario said the writer should receive royalties unless the writer signed a contract that assigns the copyright of his/her works to the producer.

Cantor also asked who owns the copyright if a work was produced with the help of a grant. Atty. Calvario said that usually it would be the entity that gave the grant. But it must be expressed in writing, otherwise the creator of the work would still be the copyright owner.

Cantor and other participants inquired if IPOPHL and FILCOLS can do something to educate high level managers and producers (especially those who come from the mainstream TV and film productions) about their writers’ rights as well. Atty. Calvario said that he will bring this up as he meets with representatives of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts this February. Beverly Siy, FILCOLS’ Executive Officer, shared FILCOLS’ previous plans of holding an IP event in partnership with organizers of different film festivals. This event would have been for the directors and producers to make them become more aware of the writers’ rights. But FILCOLS felt that its efforts should focus more on writers first.

Joric Raquiza shared his experiences as a director of a film. He said that some people from the creative department and even the producer made changes in his work. He is worried that these might affect his reputation as a director because the whole film would still be credited to him. He asked if he should take this case to the court.

Atty. Calvario encouraged him to seek an amicable settlement first. He advised him to send an invitation letter to the producer and the creative department for a meeting/conference and air his views on the changes they made in his work.

Oliver Valvieja wanted to confirm what he has heard about obtaining copyright by emailing a written work to oneself. Atty. Calvario said that copyright is automatic.

One doesn’t have to register to have copyright over his/her work. However, if a writer would still want to register the work in the National Library (with him/her as the copyright owner), no one can prevent him/her. There is also a term called poor man’s copyright where the copyright owner sends a copy of his/her work to him/herself through the snail mail. The post office, which is a government office, puts a stamp/mark on the envelope saying that it went through its system. Atty. Calvario suspects that the emailing for copyright is just the modern version of the poor man’s copyright.

The question and answer portion was a little bit longer than usual even if the number of participants was small.

Before the program ended, certificates were awarded to the participants. FILCOLS awarded Certificates of Appreciation to Atty. Calvario and Ms. Cantor for their contribution to FILCOLS Huntahan sa Diliman's success.

Beverly Siy delivered the closing remarks. She also encouraged the participants to join writers organizations so they can fight for their rights as a bigger entity. She also invited those who have published works to become member of FILCOLS.

It was indeed a very productive afternoon even if the venue was just half-full and there were so many empanadas left after everyone’s taken their shares and shares.

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

Thank you to Mr. Gabby Villarama for the photos. More photos will be uploaded. Please standby.

FILCOLS Secretariat

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