CEBUANA singer/songwriter Lourdes Maglinte has accused the former publisher of her songs of misrepresenting her and collecting royalties on her behalf.
In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, Maglinte said her Vispop-winning song “Laylay” was used in the movie “Gensan Punch” directed by Brilliante Mendoza and currently in competition in the Busan International Film Festival and set to be released as an HBO Original Movie.
Maglinte said for P100,000, film producers in good faith “wrongfully acquired the license from former publisher Christian Darius ‘Ian’ Zafra of ICO Music who claimed to represent the songwriter and her song.”
Maglinte’s song “Laylay” was named first runner-up in the popular songwriting contest Vispop in 2013.
Zafra, however, said Maglinte was well aware of the use of her song in the film.
The songwriter said on March 19, 2018 that she had expressed in writing to Zafra that she would not renew her contract with ICO Music due to its “failure to pay her royalties since the release of her song in 2013.”
She said she had also sent a second notice along with other Vispop songwriters on April 8, 2018 through her former lawyer Pablo John Garcia. Yet, the royalties and current license fees collected by ICO remained “unpaid and unremitted.”
Maglinte said documents shown to her by the film producer revealed that Zafra insisted on keeping the transaction “confidential” while assuring them that Maglinte was aware of the song’s use.
On Oct. 5, 2021, Maglinte sent a third cease and desist letter to Zafra through lawyer Rhea Mae Senining-Judilla and a notice to the public on her Facebook page that Zafra and ICO Music no longer represent her or her songs.
In his response to Maglinte and Judilla on Tuesday, Oct. 12, Zafra said he had replied to Maglinte’s 2018 letter through a July 16, 2018 letter seeking “a more open discussion in which we can reach an amicable settlement without resorting to costly and time-consuming legal processes.”
In that letter, Zafra requested a meeting with “the concerned songwriters to personally discuss with them the entire matter as well as to disburse their respective royalties.”
However, Zafra said ICO Music Publishing Inc. never got an official reply and that instead, “they resorted to posting in social media” documents that were supposed to be confidential between the parties involved.
Zafra said Maglinte and her label 22 Tango Music Group “are not clueless of the transaction” as prior to the film producer’s engagement with ICO, the producer approached her management first.
“In the conversation, your client’s management apparently consulted the label and suggested to contact ICO Music to process the copyright administration of the song ‘Laylay.’”
Zafra attached what he said was the conversation on this in which a reply to a certain Krisma Maclang Fajardo read: “Hello Krisma, with regard to the song Laylay, the song is not under 22 Tango Music Group, it’s under Vispop. You may contact ICO music for this.”
In the conversation, Maglinte’s management then directs Fajardo to ICO Music’s Facebook page. In his Tuesday response to Maglinte’s accusation, Zafra writes: “Your client appears to have intentionally misguided the film producer to reach out to us so as to deliberately establish an infringement case against us. Clearly your client cannot claim ignorance of the whole story. The producer contacted your client in good faith who referred them to ICO Music. In turn, ICO Music furnished the license in good faith as well.”
Zafra said ICO Music was “more than ready to relinquish” the account but that it must “be done right—professionally and fairly.”
He said he understood Maglinte’s desire to claim her rights and royalties, and proposed a meeting with her to discuss the matter. (CTL with PR)