PRSPh: Asserting performers’ rights

Published August 21, 2020, 7:50 AM

by Nestor Cuartero

Celeste Legaspi

JUST A THOUGHT: “I dwell in possibility.”—Emily Dickinson

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Performers have rights. Or didn’t you know?

For every song they put on record, for every tear they fall in a film or TV series, they are entitled to a certain pay scale every time their song or that acting showcase of theirs is played and replayed in whatever platform.

Can you imagine how much richer Nora Aunor could ever be if, back then, she considered taking the rights of artists seriously?

“This is what we have been waiting for,’’ musical director Mel Villena told an online press conference on Aug. 8, stressing the need for performers to band together in a move to promote artists’ rights and welfare.

Villena is head of the 179-strong Asosasyon ng Musikang Pilipino (AMP), an organization of professional musicians, performers all.

Performers here refer to singers, actors, dancers, musicians toiling in cinema, music and stage.

They are being enjoined to enlist as members of the Performers’ Rights Society of the Philippines (PRSPh).

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TASKED TO COLLECT: PRSPh is an artists’ organization that aims to protect the rights of Filipino performers under Republic Act 8293: the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

It aims to protect intellectual property of artists in its capacity as a CMO (Collective Management Organization) with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), an attached agency of the Department of Trade.

In that sense, PRSPh is tasked to collect royalties for the commercial or public use of its members’ copyrighted materials, a small effort to enforce performers’ intellectual property rights over recorded works.

The organization’s scope is worldwide as PRSPh is recognized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other International collective management associations.

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RERUNS AND REPLAYS: The move to create awareness on intellectual property rights couldn’t have come at a most opportune time.

Celeste Legaspi, PRSPh vice-president and treasurer, says that in the midst of this pandemic where performers have very minimal work or none at all, the PRSPh deems it the best time to educate colleagues on artists’ rights and welfare.

It also comes at a time when film and TV production are at a standstill while artists’ works are repeatedly re-shown in various media platforms. Performers in the entertainment industry are, in fact, among the earliest casualties of the nationwide lockdown brought about by Covid-19 pandemic.

The veteran singer-actress is calling on all performers to join PRSPh through email [email protected] or by visiting facebook.com/prsphilippines.

Membership, says Celeste, is free of charge. Celeste clears that only those who are members of the PRSPh can avail of such service.

YES YOU CAN COLLECT: Can performers really collect residuals from their works?

Veteran actor Rez Cortez, a member of PRSPh, issued a testimonial. He said that through PRSP, he has been getting yearly remuneration from his 2005 Hollywood TV film “The Great Raid,” thanks to efforts by legal consultant, Atty. Rod Vera.

Rez said his performance in the “The Great Raid” (starring James Franco and Joseph Fiennes) continues to fetch him residuals.

His first check, he said, was in the amount of $1,500; the latest awarded him with $72.59. He gets his residuals quarterly.

Music director and composer Louie Ocampo wondered what musicians should stipulate in their contract with producers so that their rights are protected.

According to Atty. Vera, negotiations are always touchy, because you give up certain rights when you enter these agreements. “But when you sign a contract, you’re only giving up the right to authorize your broadcast—you’re not giving up your residuals. So, watch out for that provision in your contracts,’ he said.

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Mitch Valdes

ADDITIONAL REMUNERATION: PRSPh President Mitch Valdes said that by law, performers are entitled to additional remuneration each time a TV episode, a show, or concert of theirs is replayed or re-broadcast.

“It would be difficult for each performer to go to every broadcast studio and record label and demand a certain number of rights. PRSPh has taken the responsibility of doing all this for us,” PRSPh chairman Leo Martinez said.

Cherry Pie Picache, representing AKTOR, a recently formed league of actors, expressed support for lesser known actors and bit players who were among the most badly hit by the pandemic.

They, too, are encouraged to become members of PRSPh.

For his part, National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab urged young artists to invest in their future by joining PRSPh. “You are going to populate our future. Through the years, mas malaki ang matatanggap ninyo.”

The media forum was well represented with the presence of CCP President Nick Lizaso, CCP Vice-President Chris Millado, National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, actress-director Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo.

 
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