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To all politicians: It’s really not that hard to ask permission before using someone’s work

The massive use of technology in a time of political transitions has not only made creativity dwindle but has also made intellectual property theft look like a casual everyday affair. And of course, as we all (and should) know, stealing the works or using an artist’s work without their permission is wrong and unethical.

A post regarding an artist’s poem being used without their permission during a presidential candidate’s rally has gone viral on Facebook. As of writing, the post has 21,000 reactions and over 22,000 shares. According to this post, it was said that the poem was performed without the artist knowing that their piece would be used in a political campaign.

POP! has reached out to Kenma, the author of the poem “Mensahe Mula Sa Bata,” which was used during the said rally.

WATCH: “Mensahe Mula Sa Bata,” as posted originally on TikTok

@keeenmaa Am I late for this trend? #fyp #foryoupage #foryou #tiktokph #spokenpoetry #museodefilipino ♬ original sound – stevenfernandez

Echoing what the post wrote, “we all know that copying or performing a piece without acknowledgment or note to the one who wrote it is a form of STEALING, it is a type of intellectual theft.” Yes, everyone is aware that it is currently campaign season and that every single candidate is working tirelessly to reach constituents. However, working tirelessly does not give anyone a free pass to steal the works of others. Stealing is wrong, whichever way you put it. But despite knowing this, people still actively and brazenly do it for their own or another person’s gain.

Using another artist’s written work, or claiming it as your own, counts as copyright infringement. In case you didn’t know, stealing intellectual property, formally known as copyright infringement or plagiarism, is a crime that’s punishable under Philippine law.

The actions done by the supporters of a certain presidential candidate is wrong and shouldn’t be ignored by anyone, even by the candidate. If the party involved condones this behavior from their supporters, then what does that say about their candidate?

Make it make sense.

Is it so hard to contact artists to ask for their permission or their consent before using their works for political reasons? Is it so hard to do things the legal way and avoid copyright infringement? Respect artists and their works, they’re not just something up for grabs whenever you need it. This is why artists can’t get the respect and recognition they deserve—people trampling on them just for their selfish and personal use.

You know how the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” As clichéd as it sounds, this is even more relevant as election D-Day is fast approaching. This goes for everyone supporting their own bets and candidates: don’t do things or say anything that will obviously tarnish the name of the person you’re supporting.

And if your candidate is already infamous for one thing, don’t add more fuel to the flame by doing something very similar to what they’re supposedly infamous for. What’s not clicking?

 

Update: Kenma has added more thoughts to the issue.

“I personally think that [the candidate] should not be held accountable since it is his supporters who did the crime,” he said. “But I am really disappointed that he, the candidate, and the organizer of the event did not bother to do things to make this better. They should do something.”

When asked about what institutions should do to ensure that artists don’t get plagiarized, he responded: “For me, the institutions should at least have the plagiarism law enforced fully. Dapat malaman ng buong bansa how serious the matter is (The whole country should be made aware of how serious the matter is). Sa nakita ko kasi, people tend to not pay attention kasi nga sulat [lang] naman ito (From what I saw, people tend to not pay attention because it’s just a written piece). Namamaliit kasi (Because it is belittled). And we lack in symposiums or [events] about how important plagiarism is.”

 

Other POP! stories you might like:

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