Poll candidates warned against ‘stealing’ songs
They are not only assaulting the ear; they are also violating copyright laws.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) on Friday warned politicians who are using copyrighted music or artworks for their campaign without permission, saying they could be held liable for infringement.
IPOPHL said election candidates should first secure the creators’ permission or license if they planned to use such materials, usually pop songs whose original lyrics are tweaked to become campaign jingles.
“The essential requirement in copyright is permission. Even if you are willing to pay the royalty, if the copyright owner does not agree, you can’t use it,” said Josephine Santiago, IPOPHL director general.
“Candidates running for office should keep this top of mind as they strategize on their promotions,” Santiago said.
A copyright owner can give his or her permission through the issuance of a license, and may also require fees, the agency added.
Since the start of the campaign season for the midterm elections in May, however, the agency has yet to receive a complaint about politicians violating copyright in their campaign jingles or posters.
Such candidates may be charged with violating the economic and moral rights of copyright owners, IPOPHL said.
Moral rights refer to the artists’ prerogative to protect their work from any changes that may affect their reputation. They can invoke this right if they don’t approve of the platform or character of the candidate using their work.
Copyright infringement in the country is punishable with a prison term of up to nine years, plus damages.
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