Saturday, April 20, 2013

Do politicians know intellectual property right?

Maybe they do. I mean, they should, right? How can they serve and protect the people with whom they make their promise to if they do not know the law and understand the rights of the people.

Maybe they really don’t know, or choose not to understand... maybe they just don’t care.

Every election period, we are bombarded by their campaign jingles left and right. For insurance, for immediate recall, familiarity and popularity’s sake, these campaign jingles are bastardized versions of today’s popular songs.

From local to foreign songs, nothing is spared. As long as it’s a hit, especially if it went viral, it will surely be used by them during campaign period.

That is why we are now hearing distorted lyrics of familiar songs like Pusong Bato, Sirena and other popular songs today. Of course, Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe were not spared. And since campaign period is still far from over, I won’t be surprised if somebody catches up with Gwiyomi.

But... did they ask permission? Were royalties paid in using the songs as campaign jingles?

If the answer is yes, well and good.  I wish that is really the case and is being done in our country today.

If not, which is most probably the case, I can think of three possible reasons why.

First, they don’t know. They are not aware, because it was their people, the “supporters we can’t control” who took care of the preparation of the jingles and they have an understanding that everything has been taken care of... including rights and royalties. They just have no time for those details.

Second, it has been going on since time immemorial. Politicians were using popular songs as campaign jingles and nobody was saying it was wrong. Sure, just because no foul was called doesn’t mean there was no harm done. And just because its tradition doesn’t mean it’s right. Try delicadeza.

And third, they don’t know. They don’t know they should ask permission. They don’t know they should respect intellectual property rights. Worse, they don’t know intellectual property rights.

An intellectual property right, as it appears to be, is not a big thing here in our country. That is why anybody can just use anybody’s idea or creation, even claim it as their own, and get away with it.

Campaign jingles are no exceptions. Oftentimes, they are even applauded for being so smart to fit witty lyrics, quotations, slogans and the candidate’s name in the ready-made measured melody.

I know it won’t really solve our country’s problems, but as an aspiring songwriter who occasionally uploads original compositions in my YouTube channel, I can’t help but think about it every time I hear those campaign jingles.

Maybe it’s just me... maybe intellectual property right isn’t really such a big deal in our country.

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