Aliwan and Manila Broadcasting Company – Copyright Infringement and Rights Grabbing

We all know what copyright infringement is but what is rights grabbing? “Rights grabbing is harvesting photographs from competition entrants to build valuable picture libraries that can be commercially exploited for the benefit of the organiser, and no benefit to the entrants who created the photographs.” ( Well you’d expect this from a photo contests initiated by fly by night institutions but never did I expect from a supposedly distinguished media company like the Manila Broadcasting Company (, the organizers of the Aliwan Fiesta ( The Aliwan Fiesta has an annual photo contest with enticing prizes for the first to third placers. Which brings us to the Manila Broadcasting Company’s rights grabbing plan. I joined the contest in 2009 and the full contest mechanics were never given to the participants. The only time you’ll be able to see it  is when you’re about to submit your contest photos. Below is a copy of the contest rules. Take note of the last sentence at the bottom of the page.

“All entries become the property of MBC, which will have the right to reproduce, exhibit, or publish the images for promotional purposes, indicating and acknowledging the photographer.”  This means all winning and non-winning entries become their property and they have the right to use these photos, royalty-free. No need to pay the photographers anymore. Forever. Pretty much one sided conditions in favor of Manila Broadcasting Company and those associated with the Aliwan. Rights grabbing. Which comes to the copyright infringement part. Manila Broadcasting Company published an ad on the Philippine Star (April 23, 2010 section G-3) containing my photo.

Here’s the newspaper ad:
Newspaper ad -3
My photo entry:
My name was never credited in the photo which was contrary to what was indicated in their own contest mechanics. I contacted them about this and their glorified secretary Susan Isorena Arcega replied to my email. She was quite adamant that they did nothing wrong and they are not obligated to print my name because it was an “advertising copy.” Riiight. So that’s what they call copyright infringement in the Philippine broadcasting industry nowadays.
I know I will gain nothing by taking it to court. But it is my wish to warn photographers that in the Philippines, even the media is corrupt.
And lest I forget, FUCK the ELIZALDE clan and FUCK YOU too Ruperto Nicdao, Jr. I hope someone jams a huge truncheon in your respective buttholes.

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