A France-based overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is shedding tears of regret after allowing GMA Network to make money from his videos without paying him a single cent.
Acclaimed Filipino photojournalist Ezra Acayan shared the ordeal of Wilson Paguyo after getting in touch with him recently about GMA’s alleged predatory practice of getting videos from content creators without compensation.
In a Facebook post, Acayan said Paguyo caught GMA’s attention because of the relief drives he organized for Filipinos in France amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite losing his job as a chef, Paguyo used his own funds to buy relief goods and other essential items for his kababayans, and delivered them to households free of charge.
“GMA asked if they could use his videos for free on their program, and rather than hire an independent videographer in France to document Wilson’s daily life, they went as far as to ask him to do the shooting himself also for free. He was told it would help give attention to his cause, so Wilson agreed,” Acayan said.
An employee from GMA got in touch with Paguyo daily, sending hit a shot list and details which producers wanted to be included in the videos he will take. Among the show’s requests include establishing shots of Paris’ famous landmarks.
“In the end, GMA was able to produce an entire documentary off of his work which he did for free,” Acayan said.
After bugging Paguyo for videos, GMA sang a different tune when it was his turn to ask for help.
“Running out of funds, he desperately asked GMA if they could at least donate directly to his cause in exchange for his work, to which GMA responded that they ‘don’t have the budget.’ He never heard from them again,” Acayan said.
Paguyo got in touch with Acayan after seeing the photographer’s social media posts exposing GMA’s habit of asking content producers for free videos and photographers.
“Wilson broke down in tears as he regretted giving away his work for free, he said he could’ve helped more people if GMA had compensated him fairly for his work,” Acayan said.
In contrast to GMA’s practice, Acayan said Paguyo told him that CNN and Reuters offered to pay him for amateur footage he took when the Notre Dame Cathedral was razed by a fire in April 2019.
Acayan believes there’s no reason for GMA not to pay Paguyo. “Wilson’s particular episode enjoys nearly three million views on Facebook, while other episodes in the series have millions more. (For those unaware, yes you can make money from Facebook as well. Like YouTube, Facebook pays out a share of revenue from ads — those annoying one minute commercials featuring a product or game that suddenly appear while you’re watching a video.),” he explained.
“This is aside from the fact that GMA now owns rights to republish and profit off of Wilson’s work for as long as they want,” Acayan added.
A letter shared by Paguyo from GMA contained this clause: “By approving this request, you acknowledge that GMA has the right to distribute, publish, make use or otherwise deal with the Program Episode featuring you for any purpose whatsoever. We assure you that media mileage will be given to you as we put proper attribution to your name.”