If there's one positive effect the NPC-Neo Angono issue has brought, it is the heightened awareness of artists over their copyright. Obviously, Neo-Angono Art Collective, has enjoyed enough clout and support from journalists, concerned individuals, various groups and most of all, from art community. So strong was the outcry from artist groups that NPC decided to remove the mural from its walls. Things that seem impossible if it concerns an individual artist versus a big, 'moneyed' and influential organization.

I wonder - what if NPC had hired only one artist to do the mural? And prior to its unveiling, it was retouched by unknown artist as the case of Neo-Angono Artist Collective. I doubt if the artist who drew the mural had the guts to file a complaint, single handedly, against an institution as influential as the NPC. Neither the artist can generate enough clout for his case to be heard and his complaint be heeded, like Neo-Angono can.

Maybe, the artist can summon his guts and complain or blog about it in the hope that his case can be heard. Or perhaps, as in the case of many artists who's work had been infringed, wait in vain - like Anton Sheker, Bobby Timonera and many other photographers and artists out there. Indeed, pursuing copyright infringement on an individual capacity remains to be difficult and costly. But this can be addressed through a collective society, a privilege that is being enjoyed by fellow Filipino artists in the music industry (which took them 20+ years to organize).

In the Photojournalism eGroup where I was a listmember, a friend asked me if the IPO has some police power and if they can prosecute an infringer. "IPO has no police power. IPO can mediate, but a case for IP violation must first be filed with our Bureau of Legal Affairs. Pwede rin i-mediate directly if it involves dispute relating to the terms of license involving author's right to public performance of other communication of his work" said Atty. Louie Andrew C. Calvario, Chief-Dispute Settlement Division, Documentation, Information & Technology Transfer Bureau, IPO Philippines. For questions and queries on Intellectual Property Rights, you may call IPO Philippines at Tel: 752-5450


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