A tip o’ the beret to LaTtEX for this ‘un. Gary Granada takes on GMA Kapuso Foundation for using his revisions to their lyrics (for a jingle he was commissioned to compose) without attribution – and here’s the kicker – using an audio-cast! Pure public relations genius, that! On one level, you’d think that the choice of medium – new media – was prolly a no-brainer. Granada was talking about music and lyrical composition after all, and it packs a helluva lot more punch to have the audience actually hear the claimed IP klepto-ing than to just say “I wuz robbed!” But on a PR level, Granada got his side out first, and did it in a way that puts GMA on the defensive in a really bad way. For one thing, Granada’s tone was calm and even throughout – not hysterical in the slightest. That alone clues you in that this is serious. But not so serious that he doesn’t joke a little. The touch of humor tells you that he isn’t desperate for sympathy – and by extension, that he’s not desperate for allies and is not out to raise a jihad. Like a general closely following Sun-Tzu’s play, Granada has chosen his battleground, and has clearly chosen it well. GMA is now on a slippery slope that it will, perforce, have to try to defend using legalese. In a country positively exhausted with the concept of “legally-right even if morally-questionable,” good luck with that
SIDEBAR: My quick and dirty analysis of the situation: Granada isn’t claiming that GMA used his music. What he claims is that GMA used his revisions of the lyrics – original copy was given to him and he tweaked it to fit the music he wrote – and set it to someone else’s music. According to Granada, the industry practice is that if the client isn’t happy with the work and decides to give it to someone else, then the client ought to give the new artist the original copy and let that new guy tweak it himself. GMA, according to Granada didn’t do that. Instead, GMA gave the new artist the lyrics as tweaked by Granada. Granada in effect says that the tweaking he did constitutes intellectual property, and that the use of his tweaked lyrics sans attribution is, at the very least, objectionable. I haven’t read GMA’s reply, but from what Granada himself quoted, it seems that GMA’s tack has been to claim that the tweaking of the lyrics was a ‘group effort.’ Granada admits that at least some of the changes were made during a pow-wow with GMA’s creatives – where presumably he suggested a few changes that the creatives agreed with. But he takes exception that that made it a group effort. At this point in the audiocast, Granada attempts to distinguish a song-writer from a copy-writer. Listen to the ‘cast and come to your own conclusions of course, but Granada’s distinctions seemed logical if a bit fuzzy. He basically says that adapting written copy – essentially a kind of poetic prose – to fit a song is something that only a song-writer can do; and that even if a song-writer does the tweaking in the company of a group of copy-writers who eventually agree, that still cannot qualify as group-writing. Group-writing to me implies that there was cooperative give and take; that it wasn’t Granada alone who made the changes but that some of the changes were proposed by the copyists. GMA may be implying that this is exactly how it went down, and Granda himself does not clearly refute this. He only sez that it’s ridiculous to call it a group effort. Like I said, fuzzy. Also: It is important to note that GMA has already telegraphed it’s potential defense that Granda’s tweaking was too minor to transform the original lyrics – copyright owned by GMA obviously – into a new work whose copyright belongs to Granada. But then again, even if the tweaks were major enough to create a new work out of the old, looking at the situation from an IP p-o-v, it is fairly safe to say that even tho’ the person who commissions the work does not necessarily own the copyright, he will usually have the right to use the work for the purpose for which the work was commissioned. And if GMA actually paid Granada for his work, you can imagine that it’ll be even easier to assume that GMA did have the right to use the work for their ad. On the other hand, the creator – Granada (assuming that the tweaked lyrics can be considered a new original) – also has the moral right to attribution. Now he can take action if the work is attributed to someone else, but does he have an actionable right if there was no attribution at all? Again, with only Granada’s ‘cast to go by, still pretty fuzzy. You can bet everything you own that this will be GMA’s playground if this tiff with Granada gets any bigger.
Over-all, even if GMA does prove that it owes Granada nothing, it will still come off as the bad-guy in this story. And for that, Granada has to be thankful to the power of new media. Me, I’m inclined to go with the moral aspect – the moral obligation of GMA to attribute at least some of the work to Granada. Besides, having Granada’s name attached to the project can only bring greater goodwill. Ironic that GMA apparently ignored that truth. VIDEO Hat tip to TSD for this one: Apparently, some people are starting to grumble about this ad, complaining about how it portrays Filipinos as ‘hungry’ and prone to violence. The prone to violence aspect is obvious. As for the ‘hungry,’ that can only make sense in the original tagalog idiom: patay-gutom. A better translation for that would be ‘greedy’ I guess. Or ‘greedy-guts.’ Whatevs. You get the point. Course, I would be happier if the guy who broke the mirror weren’t Filipino. But since he is, I have to wonder: so the fuck what? On another note, doesn’t the Skittles guy look familiar?
Filed under: blogging, Filipino, international, pop-culture, gary granada, gma kapuso foundation, new media, skittles