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Rico Blanco to Gibo: Stop using my song in your ad

(UPDATED) Rico Blanco, formerly of the rock band Rivermaya, has demanded that administration presidential bet Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. stop using his song "Posible" in the politician's video ad. The campaign jingle changed the lyrics to "Sulong Gibo (Go, Gibo!)" from the original "Sulong, laban (Go, fight!)" in the song's refrain. GMANews.TV tried to contact Teodoro for his side of the issue as of posting time, but he wasn't answering calls. The ad's musical scorer, Dennis Garcia, has claimed in a Facebook post that Blanco's former manager, Lizza Nakpil, had given permission to use the song and there was nothing illegal. She is now registered with the National Library as the copyright owner and publisher of the song. Garcia writes that he paid Nakpil a license fee to use the song. Sources in the music industry say Nakpil and Blanco had a bitter falling out years ago.
POSSIBLE CASE? Singer-composer Rico Blanco (right) is objecting to the use of his song “Posible" in the campaign ad of presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. (left) Photos from PEP.PH
In a statement released to the media on Saturday, Blanco, through Warner Music Philippines Artist Management, said the use of his song “Posible" in Teodoro’s latest campaign advertisement did not have his consent. “This use of ‘Posible’ is unauthorized. Rico Blanco is the composer and reserved all intellectual property right to it. He has not licensed the use of the composition to any political ad campaign," the statement by Blanco's representatives read. Blanco also requested Teodoro’s camp to "cease and desist from any further broadcast of ‘Posible’... to avoid any legal action." According to Warner Music, Blanco "at this time has not endorsed any political candidate whether for President or any other elective position, and is not affiliated with any political party." Blanco's services as a composer or performer have also not been retained by any national political campaign, according to Warner Music. Garcia posted copies of Posible's registration with the National Library under Nakpil's name and of the licensing agreement between him and Circe Communications Inc., the company that supposedly has the rights to the song. The copy of the agreement was signed by Garcia and Circe representative Lizza Nakpil, the former manager of Rivermaya, Blanco's band when “Posible" was recorded. Lawyer Rafael Khan, Warner Music’s legal counsel, however, said Blanco had not assigned to any entity his rights as the composer of the song. “According to Rico, as a matter of practice, he does not assign the copyright of a song he writes to anyone else. We’re pretty sure that he still has the full rights as the composer of the song," Khan said in a phone interview with GMANews.TV on Saturday. According to Section 178 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, the copyright of an audiovisual work belongs "to the producer, the author of the scenario, the composer of the music, the film director, and the author of the work." It also states that the composer of a song is entitled to 5 percent of the gross proceeds obtained in the sale or lease of the musical material. Khan said their camp was still hoping for a "friendly arrangement" to settle the issue. “It is a simple problem that can be solved through a simple phone call. We are still hopeful that they will act accordingly on the matter," he said. Garcia claims that he communicated with Warner and sent a copy of the song's license to the music company for their review on January 7. Politics and pop songs In his Facebook post, Garcia also raises questions about the motives behind Warner's demand and suggests it may be a political attack on Teodoro, who commissioned the political ad. "What worries me more," Garcia adds, "is the fact that this incident will needlessly scare candidates from using Original Pinoy Music for their campaigns. Goodbye, OPM. Hello… ‘nobody, nobody but you’." Political candidates have been using pop songs in their ads for decades to establish image and capture votes, knowing that they can't afford to be without their signature tunes. In the past, political parties did not need to raid the charts for their political jingles because they had their own songs. The late President Ramon Magsaysay, for instance, elected to use an original composition by Senator Raul Manglapus for his campaign jingle in the 1950s. That song, "Mambo Magsaysay," branded “My Guy" Magsaysay during the political race in a ditty still familiar to many today. Modern politicians have been using and adapting songs on the charts or hiring bands and singers to sing new ones — from Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s melodramatic “Hindi Ka Nag-iisa," sung by Regine Velasquez to Eddie Villanueva’s upbeat “Eddie Ako," which was performed by rapper Gloc-9, to Bayani Fernando’s foot-tapping “Macho Guwapito." Sen. Manny Villar picked the music of Parokya ni Edgar and 6cyclemind for his TV commercials, while senatorial bet Ferdinand “Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. has a TV ad featuring the song “Tuloy Pa Rin Ako" originally by the group Labuyo. — ANDREO C. CALONZO, CARMELA LAPENA, ARCS/HGS/NPA, GMANews.TV
Teodoro's “Posible" campaign ad
The original Rivermaya version of “Posible"