‘Kingmaker’ director says legal action underway after 2nd billboard using unauthorized photo of Imelda Marcos spotted

Image courtesy of Lauren Greenfield (Twitter)
Image courtesy of Lauren Greenfield (Twitter)

Second time clearly was not the charm for Digital Out of Home (DOOH) Philippines, the advertising agency that was called out for using an image of former first lady Imelda Marcos from the documentary The Kingmaker without permission on a billboard birthday greeting.

After apologizing to The Kingmaker director Lauren Greenfield over the weekend, it seems the company is guilty of another case of copyright infringement (as well as atrocious grammar) as evidenced by yet another billboard showing Mrs. Marcos in the signature red terno dress alongside the greeting, “Happy 93th birth day First Lady Imelda Marcos.”

“Getting reports of a second copyright infringement in Manila that occurred yesterday as well. Same company,” Greenfield wrote on Twitter.

The photograph of Imelda Marcos was used in the posters of the award-winning 2019 documentary, which chronicles the political career of the former first lady and her family’s attempts to rehabilitate their image after her husband, former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was ousted as a result of the 1986 People Power Revolution. 

Poster of “The Kingmaker,” featuring Imelda Marcos. Image: Lauren Greenfield / The Kingmaker

READ: Acclaimed Marcos documentary ‘The Kingmaker’ is now free for streaming

Over the weekend, DOOH Philippines issued an apology to Greenfield and took down the greeting after images of a massive billboard wishing the former first lady a happy birthday using the photo went viral on social media.

“First, we would like to sincerely apologize for using your “Kingmaker” image for our billboards. We must confess that we were unaware of your copyright, and we appreciate that you brought the matter to our attention,” the company wrote in a statement.

“Please be informed that as soon as we were made aware of the issue, we immediately took the greeting down. We take full responsibility for the mistake, and we are truly sorry.”

Yet hours after the apology was made, photos were reportedly sent to Greenfield of another billboard, operated by the same company, showing the same greeting.

Greenfield said that legal action was already underway.

Copyright infringement in the Philippines is punishable by law with imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of PHP50,000 to PHP150,000 (US$900 to US$2,721) for the first offense, and jail time of three years and a day to six years, plus another fine of PHP150,000 to PHP500,000 (US$2,721 to US$9,070) for the second offense.

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