Aklan lensman slams unauthorized use of photos by politicos

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau
Last updated 07:07pm (Mla time) 07/11/2007

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — A freelance photojournalist has scored the unauthorized use of his photographs in the campaign materials of Aklan officials in the last elections.


Joe Haresh Tanodra, 42, alleged that photographs that he took of Aklan Representative Florencio Miraflores, Governor Carlito Marquez and former vice governor Ronquillo Tolentino were used without his permission in the 2007 calendar and T-shirts distributed by the provincial government.


He said thousands of copies of these calendars and T-shirts were distributed in the province’s 17 towns during the Christmas party of the Tibyog Akean, the political party of the three officials, on December 18, 2006, and during the campaign period.


Tanodra, who is based in the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan, has been a photojournalist for 24 years and is also a contributor of the European Press Photo Agency.


He wrote a letter to Marquez in May about his complaint but said he was not compensated for the use of his work.


In his letter, Tanodra said he allowed the use of his photographs by provincial information officer Ulysses Espartero “for journalism purposes.”


But he said he was surprised to see the photographs on the calendars and T-shirts.


“Doubtless some print or publication establishments had made money out of my photographic creative works at my great expense and prejudice,” said Tanodra in his letter.


He said the unauthorized use of the photographs violated his rights under the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act 8293).


“As a struggling photojournalist barely living on a hand-to-mouth existence, the undersigned felt that he had been exploited and shortchanged by [Espartero],” said Tanodra in his letter.


He is seeking a stop to the use of his photographs without his permission and for compensation of the photographs used on the calendar and T-shirts.


When sought for comment, Espartero said he sought the permission of a local photo studio that Tanodra was connected with to use the photographs on the calendar. He said he was willing to compensate the photojournalist but claimed Tanodra refused to talk to him. Espartero added he knew nothing about the use of Tanodra’s photographs on the politicians’ campaign T-shirts.


“The fact remains that I did not give permission for the use of those photographs,” said Tanodra. He said Espartero ignored his repeated calls and text messages complaining the use of his photographs.


Tanodra has sought the help of media organizations and photographers’ groups to compel the provincial government to compensate him for his work.


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