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Billboard greeting for Imelda Marcos draws ire of 'The Kingmaker' director for using photo without permission

By NICK GARCIA Published Jul 02, 2022 4:52 pm Updated Jul 03, 2022 9:17 am

The director of Imelda Marcos documentary The Kingmaker condemned an electronic billboard wishing the former first lady a happy birthday today, July 2, using a photo from her work without permission.

"Clearly, whoever stole my image to wish Imelda Happy Birthday doesn’t understand copyright infringement," Lauren Greenfield said in a tweet, as she shared photos of The Philippine STAR photographer KJ Rosales. She also mentioned Matt Shonfeld, co-founder and executive director of the Institute for Artist Management.

The electronic billboard along J.P. Rizal Avenue in Makati displayed an image of Marcos in a red gown as seen in The Kingmaker.

"Happy 93th Birth day FIRST LADY IMELDA ROMUALDEZ MARCOS," read the erroneous birthday greeting, which should've been "93rd" and "birthday."

The electronic billboard along J.P. Rizal Avenue in Makati with a birthday greeting for Imelda Marcos.

Many netizens on the STAR's post have had a field day about the blunder.

Greenfield, later on, called out Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) PH—the company behind the "offending" billboard—as well as its owner Alvin Carranza, whom she called a "known Marcos apologist."

"Regardless of his political views, the media industry is not going to appreciate copyright infringement as it puts everyone’s IP (intellectual property) at risk of abuse. Bad business!" she said.

The director also tagged somebody asking for information on how to track down the person who paid for the ad.

A user claiming to know someone working for the agency of the spot, meanwhile, said they sent Greenfield leads through a direct message.

In a statement, DOOH PH apologized to Greenfield, saying that it "immediately" took the greeting down after being made aware of the issue.

"We must confess that we were unaware of your copyright, and we appreciate that you brought the matter to our attention," the company said, adding that it's "willing" to make it right with the director.

"[I]f you will need our services in the future, please do not hesitate to give us a call," DOOH PH told Greenfield, "and we assure you that we will extend all the help that we can give."

Imelda, the wife of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., is infamous for her ostentatiously extravagant lifestyle during Martial Law which led to the coinage of the term "imeldific." For one, she reportedly owned 3,000 pairs of shoes.

Her son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. was proclaimed president on June 30 after a landslide victory on May 9 with over 31 million votes, becoming the first majority president since 1986. It also marked the return of another Marcos in Malacañang nearly four decades since their family was booted out of the palace.

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated with the statement from DOOH PH.)