BY Minka Klaudia S. Tiangco

The fairytale is that any artist can upload original music online, then all he has to do is sit back and wait for royalties to come rolling in. In reality, he will just open himself to intellectual property theft.

For the Filipino artist, the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Inc. (FILSCAP) is heaven-sent precisely for that.

FILSCAP, a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 1965, advocates for the creation, usage, and development of Original Pilipino Music (OPM).

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The organization has more than a thousand members. A total of 1,241 of its members are regular composers approved by the Board of Trustees. Then there are the 24 associate members, who are composers admitted years ago but whose songs are not being played in public and/or in digital platforms, said FILSCAP marketing manager Althea Mateo.

FILSCAP also has 56 successor members, who are the immediate family members of regular members who have already passed away. There are five copyright owners, who bought rights from regular members and 40 publishers, who own the reproduction right of certain songs.

Of all the registered publishers in the Philippines, FILSCAP is solely accredited by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) to administer public performance and communication to the public rights to creators and owners of original music works.

FILSCAP licensing manager Maria Alexis de Jesus explained that they administer public performance rights to artists whose copyrighted music are played in commercial establishments, like hotels, restaurants, malls, etc., and public vehicles such as buses and airplanes.

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Meanwhile, copyrighted music played through wired or wireless means in the television, radio, or in digital platforms, fall under communication to the public rights.

FILSCAP administers public performance and communication to the public rights to over 40 million songs or up to 95 percent of the worldwide repertoire.

De Jesus said FILSCAP also administers reproduction rights, which is done when their songs are covered by other artists. The organization handles 55 composers for this.

The reproduction right is most difficult to administer because some artists do not know they need to secure a license before covering copyrighted songs, de Jesus said.

FILSCAP has intensified its licensing operations since it was founded. Still, piracy remains the biggest threat to Filipino artists, even though they are dealing with less piracy incidents today compared to previous years, Mateo said.

“Music is intangible, so some people think they can just use it freely,” Mateo said. “It’s not free. It’s intellectual property, too.”

De Jesus said three teams are tasked with monitoring establishments playing copyrighted music. One is the licensing team, who monitors unlicensed establishments nationwide. The other is the documentation team, who monitors licensed establishments for the returns. FILSCAP’s members can also submit proof when their songs are being played in certain establishments.

FILSCAP has a reciprocal agreement with its 52 foreign affiliates who help them monitor copyrighted music being played abroad, de Jesus added.

De Jesus said FILSCAP does not have a per song license but instead offers a blanket license rate for television and general establishments playing copyrighted music.

FILSCAP collects up to P14,641 for hotels and resorts playing mechanical music in its common areas and up to P36,602.50 for live music. For restaurants and cafés, FILSCAP collects up to P11,712.80 for those playing mechanical music and up to P18,301.75 for those playing live music.

Malls and shopping centers need to pay an annual rate of up to P15,373.05 while department stores, supermarkets, and the like should pay up to P15,504.82 if they are to play copyrighted mechanical music.

A rate of P30,000 is collected from websites and applications with downloading and streaming services. For FM radio stations, the per hour rate is up to P16.18 and up to P16.18 for AM radio stations.

The full list of its published rates can be found in its website at

A minimum of 65 percent of the royalties go to the artist while 35 percent go to FILSCAP for their maintenance fees and socio-cultural activities, de Jesus explained.

Aside from upholding Filipino artists’ rights, FILSCAP also hosts a number of events that has successfully brought together a community of singers, songwriters, composers, and music lovers.

These events include songwriting competitions, songwriting camps, and master lectures where icons of Filipino music hold discussions to educate others about OPM.

FILSCAP goes around Metro Manila and provinces like Cebu and Davao to hold events.

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