Artists Have Rights, Too!
“I’m only an artist. I’m here only to please my audience.”
We often hear these words from singers, actors, dancers, writers, directors, composers and other non-performing artists. True to our calling, we are here to create works that give meanings, insights, relevance, and colors to an otherwise dull daily existence of our audiences. Many of us want to change society through our works while few others are content with providing momentary relief from life’s hardship.
Whatever our goals are as artists, the fact remains that other people profit from our works even if we do not want them to. When our works are disseminated to a bigger market, they become commodities for entrepreneurs to profit on.
We have heard sad stories of how artists fell victims to other people’s unscrupulous practices, artists who trustingly signed contracts with provisions that virtually waived their rights in favor of other people. A National Artist with thousands of popular musical compositions died a pauper because he waived his rights to many of his very popular works that continue to be exploited by others. A singer’s work was used for almost a decade by a high-rating television series without due compensation. Writers’ works continue to be used by many textbook publishers with neither permission nor royalty compensation. No one seems to care.
Many of us have spent our entire professional lives perfecting our craft. Just like any other professionals or sectors of society, we contribute so much to nation building not only through earned revenues through taxes but also to the formation of our cultural identity as a people. We deserve the same treatment that society accords its professionals and productive members.
Still unknown to many artists, there are laws that guarantee our rights to our works. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to forfeit your rights and let others exploit you and your works. This is what this reading material is all about. Take time to read this as this will certainly come in handy the next time you sign your work engagement contracts or when in doubt about the proceeds you are entitled to for commercial utilization of your works.
Your partners in artists’ rights protection,