AFTER much criticism, the Carlos Palanca Foundation (CPF), which hands out the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (CPMA), has retracted its amendment to the contest mechanics which granted it copyright to winning pieces.

Rule No. 21 stated that the writer of a winning piece granted the Foundation “concurrent and non-exclusive right to exercise the full copyright and all other intellectual property rights” to their works, including those that had previously won in the contest.

Moreover, the rule required that the writer waive “all moral rights” over his winning pieces in favor of the Palanca.

Republic Act 8293, or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, states that the author carries the right to allow or deny action on his work such as its reproduction, adaptation, and translation.

“Moral rights” of the author were broadly defined in the amendment, spanning his authorship to objection to any modification on his work.

However, Rule No. 21 was deleted before it could be formally implemented after drawing flak from writers. Other revisions in the rules were also made.

“The revisions address the concerns raised by members of the literary community, whose opinions CPMA highly values, on the rules regarding the assignment of “moral rights” and the retroactivity to past award-winning works which have been provided in the superseded rules,” a statement from the foundation said. “These two matters have accordingly been deleted,” according to the Foundation’s press release.”

Sylvia Palanca-Quirino, director general of the CPF, told the Varsitarian in an email that “the revised 2015 rules [have] been released and are final.”

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According to Filipino ficitonist Eros Atalia, who has won his share of Palanca awards, changing the contest rules of the contest would have a big effect on the writers. He explained that he had consulted the foundation in the past when his works were ada[ted for the big screen.

He said the amendment would have been a dampener on young writers who wanted to participate in the contest.

He explained aspiring writers would like to participate in the Palanca awards for the sheer prestige of the contest, but they would think twice because should the amendment had been retained, they would not own copyright to their winning works and worse, give up any chance to cash in on them through movie and other adaptation deals.

In an online article, former Varsitarian managing editor Ramil Gulle said Rule 21 would not work to the advantage of writers.

“I’m just saying, by way of crazy hypothetical scenarios, that having another party as co-owner of your literary work (whether the CPF or some other entity), the situation can become messy, complicated, stressful, and potentially disadvantageous for you,” his online article read.

Contest guidelines were also updated in the revision. Rule No. 16 now states that works published between May 1 of the previous year until April 30 of this year, and unpublished material may be entered in the contest.

Both the Novel and Nobela categories have been re-opened this year. These categories are biennially held; the last time in 2013. Works published two years prior to April 30 and unpublished works may qualify.

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For Dulang Pampelikula, only unpublished or unproduced works may be entered.

The CPMA, now on its 65th year, was established in 1950 to recognize the work of exceptional Filipino writers. Among its recipients are literary titans and National Artists such as F. Sionil Jose, Cirilo Bautista, and Rolando Tinio.

Winners will be announced on Sept. 1. Alpine Christopher P. Moldez and Josef Brian G. Ramil

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