Manila Broadcasting Company’s off-the-ghettos publicist “Susan”

My email conversation between Manila Broadcasting Company’s secretary a.k.a. “PR and Publicity Consultant”  Susan Isorena-Arcega regarding their illegal use of my photograph.


On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 4:23 AM, Wilson Co <> wrote:

Good day sir/madam,

It has come to my attention that my photo entry for Aliwan 2009 was used in today’s Philippine Star ad (April 23,2010 Young Star Section G-3). While I agreed let the organizers of Aliwan Fiesta use my photos for promotional purposes, I didn’t not, however, agree that my photos be used without due credit to me, the photographer. Something which you have done in the abovementioned newspaper.

Attached is the newspaper ad and your own contest rules for Aliwan 2009.

I wish to know how you plan to rectify this misdeed on your part.

Thank you.


From: susan arcega <>
Subject: Re: Photo credits
To: “Wilson Co” <>
Cc: “Jun Nicdao Jr.” <>,, “Jose Ma. T Parroco” <>, “Eloi” <>
Date: Friday, April 23, 2010, 9:12 PM

Dear Mr Co

Thank you for your note.

MBC used your photographs in an advertisement — it was simply laid out like an article so that the section would carry it.  The advertising space was given to us,  to be used as we deemed fit.  Per MBC policy, we do not indicate names of photographers on our ads – only on feature articles.

We hope this clarifies things.

Susan Isorena-Arcega
PR and Publicity Consultant


On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 11:18 PM, Wilson Co <> wrote:

“All entries become the property of MBC, which will have the right to reproduce, exhibit, or publish the images for promotional purposes, indicating and acknowleding the photographer.

Your own rules. Ads are a means of promoting the event hence, promotional material.

Are you saying that you are not going to follow the contest rules you yourselves set? If this is the case, then it’s clearly a case of misrepresentation on your part and it is your intention to garner thousands of free stock photos under the guise of a photo contest. This is tantamount to fraud.

I’m sorry but this is unacceptable. Too many unscrupulous entities have taken advantage of eager photographers and to be honest, I thought MBC and those involved in the Aliwan Fiesta to more principled.

From: susan arcega <>
Subject: Re: Photo credits
To: “Wilson Co” <>
Cc: “Jun Nicdao Jr.” <>, “Jose Ma. T Parroco” <>,, “Eloi” <>
Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010, 8:41 AM
Dear Mr Co

Adverts do not carry by-lines of any sort,  whether in acknowledgment of the graphic designer, copywriter, or photographer.

As I explained previously, we mention names of photographers in feature articles we release.  We reiterate that what came out was an ad laid out to look like an article because we wanted to enhance the lifestyle appeal of the festival for target placement in the desired section of the broadsheet, and not any commercial considerations that may be attributed to it, which overt advertising material imply outright.  The writer of the text used for the piece received no acknowledgment as well despite the length of the work, and journalism is as much of a creative endeavor as photography.  

It is unfortunate that you feel that way about the use of your photograph, but no commercial value whatsoever has redounded to MBC because of it.  The Aliwan Fiesta is offered free to the public as a public relations exercise whose modest contribution is to promote domestic tourism.  

We would also like to correct your impression that we need to garner thousands of photos, as we contract a number of official photographers who are experienced photojournalists, and whose body of work, if I may say so on their behalf, is much better than many of the entries we receive.  It is sad that you maintain your views as such, but we do not force anybody to join the photo competition, and winners do receive generous prizes.

Should you wish to do so, you can retrieve your photograph and we will delete its corresponding scan from our archives. 


On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 9:41 PM, Wilson Co <> wrote:
I’m sorry that you have a hard time understanding plain English. The simple matter of the fact is that you reneged on an agreement that you yourselves stipulated. After repeatedly quoting your own contest rules to you, should I translate it into Tagalog so you can better understand it?
I would never have joined your silly contest if I have known you people from the Manila Broadcasting Company lack the integrity to follow your own rules to give credit where credit is due. If you’re so proud of your own photojournalists, why don’t you use their photos instead. I’ve seen your online gallery and I’ve found them wanting.
It’s true you don’t force people to join your contest. But you also don’t provide the complete terms and conditions of the contest to the public. And that is lying by omission.
Anyways, you keep doing what you think is right and I’ll do what I know is right.
Good day!
From: susan arcega <>
Subject: Re: Photo credits
To: “Wilson Co” <>
Cc: “Eloi” <>
Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010, 1:15 PM
Dear Mr Co

The issue of comprehension seems to work both ways since you have likewise chosen to interpet advertising policies the way you want it.  Your offer of a translation in the vernacular would not change the situation.

We use our contractors’ photographs quite exhaustively, thank you, and the decision to use entries in the photocompetition was in appreciation of efforts by photographers to capture the many nuances of the festival and share it with the general public.  It is unfortunate that your personal motivations for submitting your photos were different

We can state emphatically that all previous feature releases issued by MBC named the photographers whose works were included.  Advertising copy does not.

Nevertheless we appreciate your comments and wish you the best


From: Wilson Co <>
Subject: Re: Photo credits
To: “susan arcega” <>
Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010, 2:07 PM
It seems that we are at an impasse.
Whether who’s right or wrong, it does not change the fact that MBC conducts itself like any other copyright infringers on the web who grab photos without permission. And hiding behind some convenient loophole like “advertising copy” does not change that fact. 
It’s my fervent hope that Manila Broadcasting Company’s 40 or so years of history doesn’t come to an abrupt end just because some of it’s errant employees got creative.
Goodluck and more power to the Aliwan Festival.

2 thoughts on “Manila Broadcasting Company’s off-the-ghettos publicist “Susan”

  1. I have come across the rules, and reading everything I don’t see any foul action made. No rules were circumvented. I’ve also seen the ad, and yes it was an advert. I’m an IP proponent myself, being a filmmaker, but requesting a byline on an ad that doesn’t really generate revenue is ridiculous, especially considering the contest rules given.

    Here’s something to think about: are you guys paying the subjects of your photographs in said contest? Do those subjects know that you took their photos without their permission? Because as far as I know, MBC pays for the expenses of those people.

    • If think that, then I would suggest that your take a long hard look at yourself in front of a mirror then slap yourself. Because the only people who think there’s nothing wrong are those connected to MBC.

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