Freedom Mural Alterations

I bought a copy of last Sunday's issue (November 4th) of Philippine Daily Inquirer but I'm so busy and was not able to read it, except scanning a few pages. Though vividly, I can recall its front page photo and headline - "Freedom Mural Defiled: Artists outraged by NPC Censorship" which now is the talk of the town.

Much as I want to delve into the deeper issues, I'd like instead to focus on the issue of copyright. RA 8293 define's artists rights - both economic (right to earn or obtain financial benefit from their original creative work) and moral rights (right to the integrity of the creative work).

This means that the art work, even sold to another party cannot be altered, defaced or destroyed without permission from its creator. Moral rights include the rights to - require that the authorship of the works be attributed to him, To make any alterations of his work prior to, or to withhold it from publication; to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, his work which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation; and to restrain the use of his name with respect to any work not of his own creation or in a distorted version of his work. Ref: RA 8293 Sec. 193

It cannot be denied that Neo-Angono Collective who was commissioned by the NPC has moral rights over their work and even though the physical work (mural) belongs to the NPC, the intellectual property remains with the artists. Copyright, of course, has its own limitations. Unless the work was not done under a work-for-hire agreement, and unless there is a written stipulation where author's copyright is being transferred or or waived, the artists retains ownership of copyright.

What complicated the matter was that the artists who made the alterations are not the original creators.

You may view the original mural and its alterations here.

See related stories (updated):
Truth In Art
NPC offers ‘bastardized’ mural to Inquirer
International press body condemns mural alteration
NPC mulls sale of ‘edited’ press freedom mural
More artists bewail altered press freedom mural
The National Press Club’s Political Censorship
The NPC's Clubbing of Freedom of Expression
National Press Club embroiled in censorship row
Ingrates, NPC execs call Angono artists
Bastardized mural reflects dark side of journalism
Akbayan solon seeks probe of mural censorship
A Question of Truth
NUJP hits NPC move to censor press freedom mural
A Camel of a Mural
Mural Rights
Burgos slams NPC over retouch of mural
Media group bewails NPC mural ‘censorship’
NPC exec threatens to declare artists ‘persona non grata’
Old NPC mural ‘stolen’; new one censored
Scandalous Art
Drawing the Line
Kiko decries desecration of NPC Mural...
Prominent artist agrees changes in press club’s mural wrong
Mural on Philippine press freedom gets censored
What Press Freedom?
Freedom Mural Defiled
Artists decry defilement of commissioned mural at press club

Photo of original mural from the Neo-Angono Artists Collective website. The altered mural may be viewed at the Headline Restaurant on the fourth floor of the NPC building.


roy said…
The discussion in this blog entry should prove interesting:
Dennis S. Rito said…
hi roy,

thanks so much.
DJB Rizalist said…
nice set of links, even though most of them ignore the obvious: this was a case of the "artists" leaving their client in a lurch one day before the unveiling of their obra maestro.

Moral rights? Sure, but they also had a moral obligation to make NPC happy after all this WAS a work made to order for a specific place (a restaurant).

If there were no time pressure, Neo Angono would not object to modifying the picture.

But the analogy I would make is like buying a lemon when buying a car (about the same price, incidentally).

NPC actually bought a lemon, but after they tried to "fix it" for opening day, Neo Angono cried "Rapo!"brolrh
Dennis S. Rito said…
hi djb rizalist,

thank you so much for your insight.

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