Pirates of the Carribean

July 24, 2010

You would probably be thinking about Captain Jack Sparrow and his action pact adventures. But no, I won’t be talking about him. But let me use the movie “Pirates of the Carribean” as a framework for this blog. In the movie, Jack Sparrow is the pirate and the Carribean is the vast sea that he is to conquer.

The Singer-Songer Writer, Ogie Alcasid

 Just recently, the local music industry was again intrigued by a piracy and copyright infringement issue. Ogie Alcasid’s composition, Pangako, was allegedly pirated in Korea. Dubbbed as The Singer-Songwriter, Ogie Alcasid is one of the Philippines’s greatest musicians, singers and composers. He has written a lot of beautiful ballads and love songs which have been theme songs of different movies and telenovelas alike. One of which is Pangako, sang by the Asia’s Songbird, Regine Velasquez. Pangako was used as the theme song of the movie “Pangako, Ikaw Lang” starring Regine Velasquez and Aga Mulach.

Korea's Jang Hye Jin

With the sudden rise of the Korean culture, the Philippines has been invaded by Koreanovelas, K-Pop tunes, and Korean fashion style. The Korean singer, Jang Hye Jin had her version of Pangako titled For Your Love which allegedly did not ask for Mr. Alcasid’s permission. This song was part of the soundtrack of the 2002 Koreanovela Glass Slippers, which was aired by GMA 7. Here’s a video of Jang Hye Jin’s For Your Love:

In an interview of GMA 7’s Showbiz Central, Mr. Alcasid explained:

 “Yes, I’ve been aware of it. Siguro two to three years ko na alam. Nalaman ko na lang thru GMA. Nalaman ko rin through [the] Internet tapos may nagsulat no’n din dati. Nakita ko sa YouTube. Hindi ko alam ang puno’t dulo niyan pero kung inyong papakinggan sa YouTube ‘yung Korean version, it’s exactly the same way that Regine sang it. It’s exactly the same way that the original arranger, who is Mark Lopez (arranged it).”


The Pirates of the Ca-WEB-bean

 Going back to Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Carribean, allow me to frame the situation this way: Jang Hye Jin is the pirate and the Internet as the vast sea where her song, For Your Love, emerged.

No, I am not claiming that the allegation is true. What I am trying to say is that nowadays, a lot of similar situations are happening. An original composition is being misused, without the permission of the composer. This holds true for a lot of songs, movies, books, pictures, softwares, and what have you.

The Internet has been instrumental in this case. It is the medium where Jang Hye Jin’s song reached a lot of music and drama enthusiasts. It is the medium where Mr. Alcasid found out about the alleged copyright infringement.

Come to think of it, we are also suspects and victims in the same way as Ogie Alcasid and Jang Hye Jin. In our everyday lives, we download all sorts of files that we need and want. We download MP3s and WAVs for our listening preferences and AVIs and MP4s for our viewing preferences. We listen to Paramore, Usher, Eraserheads, and Parokya Ni Edgar on our iPods. We watch Glee, Gossip Girl, and Grey’s Anatomy on our laptops. And yes, we have them all with the help of the mighty Internet. And what about the artists and the shows’ producers? I can say that they are always on the look out for the thieves of the products.


Intellectual Property Rights

 As Ogie Alcasid mentioned on his interview:

 “We’re bound by laws, international laws and those things hindi dapat ginagawa ‘yon. Pero ‘yun naman ay ginagawan na ng paraan ng aming publishing company, which is EMI Publishing. It’s a standard, it’s an international standard.”

Mr. Alcasid is trying to point out that an international law prohibits somebody to copy someone else’s copyrighted songs. As Mary Levering wrote in her article Intellectual Property Rights in Musical Works:

“…in order to stimulate originality and creativity, creators and owners of musical works are granted an exclusive bundle of rights in their copyrighted musical works for the enrichment of our society. Awareness of these rights is essential for all potential users, even for academics and scholars who wish to use these musical works for educational or other research purposes.”

But let us remember that Ogie Alcasid’s song was allegedly pirated online. Would it matter if the copied material was produced through CDs or distributed online? Here’s an issue raised by Mary Levering:

 “Digital Rights Management vs. Access Management: One major challenge in the area of digital rights management is understanding the distinction and relationship between managing “rights” in copyrighted works and managing “access” consistent with those rights. Managing rights in online copyrighted works is the right and responsibility of rightsholders and their agents, e.g., authors, publishers, and others in the distribution chain; managing “access” to those works in a way that consistently respects rightsholders’ rights, and is also responsive to the needs and privileges of scholars and other users, is the responsibility of digital libraries and archives who store online copyrighted works and provide users with access to them. Managing access is more challenging in the online world than in the analog world.


The Free Music Philosophy (FMP)

What is Free Music Philosophy? According to Ram Samudrala, “FMP is an anarchistic grass-roots, but high-tech, system of spreading music: the idea that creating, copying, and distributing music must be as unrestricted as breathing air, plucking a blade of grass, or basking in the rays of the sun.”

As the law prohibits pirates on copying and distributing music, FMP may seem to work the other way around. Copying and distributing music should not be under restrictions. Read Ram Samudrala’s article here.

Being a singer myself, I pay due respect to the works of other singers and musician. Talent and creativity are not just commodities that you could buy in a store. These are God-given talents that only a few possess. The laws, which were passed according to careful examination and consensus of a law-making body, are there to protect the rights of these music geniuses.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thehappykimy
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 16:01:41

    I would admit that I am also guilty of pirating songs, videos, pictures, and other files. I know that each and every person using the internet is using these stuffs for free (except that they are paying for the electricity to get connected to the net). One way or another, there will be regulatory laws that will be made to issue necessary actions to protect the rights of those who created them. But then what makes the internet interesting to the people who uses it is the free access to any form of information they would like to have. And commodifying it would only make them like it less. Nevertheless, these laws would not totally override the negative motives of culprits and ‘pirates’ because the greatest platform developers are not usually part of any gov’t institution, and they-the techie geniuses could easily manipulate the technology to favor them whenever they want to.


  2. Rhea Lorenzo
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 12:12:39

    I really like your blog post. 😀 It’s very informative and I must admit, I didn’t know there was an issue about the song, “Pangako” until I read your post. If you are going to ask me, I go for the Free Music Philosophy but if we are going to be allowed to download and distribute songs, movies, ebooks or software online, I think there ought to be official sites where one has to register in order to get those things for free. And of course, anything done outside those official sites, would be illegal. At least everybody can get access but they can only use it personally. But then again, it’s still pretty hard to regulate this thing we call World Wide Web. 😀


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