Plagiarism, AGAIN… :(

Yes, I realize it happens everywhere on the planet. But it just seems so much more acute, embarrassing and outrageous when it happens here at home. There was the newspaper writer who plagiarized and apologized (actually several writers over the last several years), there was the Supreme Court justice accused of copying, the CEO whose speechwriters plagiarized segements of his commencement speech (but I might add, he immediately took responsibility for and resigned from his post on that educational institution’s board), the Department of Tourism that took stuff from this blog, and now a Senator who gave an emotional speech, only to be called out as reading material that was plagiarized from a U.S. blog.

Gosh, don’t people get it? Plagiarism is wrong. Anyone who attended a decent grade school education should be quite aware of that. And what’s with the pathetic excuses that everyone comes up with to JUSTIFY the plagiarism? Why not just take it on the chin and admit a mistake was made? Are we really so above the rest of the world that our morals are several stories way down in the basement with respect to intellectual property rights? Several dozen readers have emailed me to ask why I haven’t commented on this latest plagiarism issue. Honestly, it’s because I was just so sick to my stomach how frequently this kind of issue crops up, and not among unknown folks, but leaders of society in law, business, politics, journalism, etc. The thing is, the rest of the population, you and me included, obviously don’t express enough disbelief, disgust and disapproval for the powers that be to feel compelled to just stop doing it. It’s pathetic. JUST PATHETIC. And with several types of software out there to cross-check one’s document or speech against other previously published material, THERE IS SIMPLY NO EXCUSE THAT YOU COULD NOT HAVE CHECKED YOUR WORK BEFORE MAKING IT PUBLIC. Particularly if you are giving a speech that SOMEONE ELSE wrote on your behalf.

Even more disturbing than the act of plagiarizing itself, however, is the apparent Filipino penchant for blusteringly thinking they can weasel their way out of it… “they didn’t know, they didn’t think it was wrong, they thought it was public domain, they can’t question an elected official,” etc. BALONEY. If Senators who are tasked with helping to run the nation and lead by example can’t figure out what plagiarism is, then how are are the 90+% of all grade 6 public school students who scored LESS THAN 50% correct on all three of the Math, English and Science Proficiency Tests going to do when they reach an adulthood?

Frankly, this article by Analiza Perez-Amurao on says it all for me, and better than I could have ever written…

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32 Responses

  1. Aren’t you supposed to be taking it easy today, MM? __^

    But, seriously.
    I was raised (and subsequently taught, trained, coached and supervised) to give due credit to the originator, as well as to clearly differentiate between fact, opinion and hearsay.

    I came across this scandalous tidbit last week: a population study indicates that Filipino average IQ is now in the region of 86 points. As the author pointed it out, back in the (politically incorrect) day, that range would have been classified as “cretinous”. Makes you wonder whether the survey sample was populated by the same public clowns (oops!) officials and their supposedly qualified support staff/researchers who think plagiarism is some exotic disease their immune to.

  2. Wendy, that’s really disappointing, but not surprising. I was just saying to some friends the other day that the average IQ must have dropped 20 points in the past 30 years… and here you are with some figures… yikes. Yikes indeed. I just googled, and if those sites are reliable, out of 45 countries with data, the Philippines ranked 37th, after IRAQ, INDONESIA, etc. And that’s more than 10 year old data… I fear it has gotten worse still…

  3. i just don’t get it. it’s so much easier to cite sources – at least, mukhang well researched and credible pa ung paper. medyo nakakalito lang when you are doing different papers and you need to use different forms e.g. APA, MLA, Harvard, Yale, etc. back in college, considered na very serious offense ang plagiarism kaya we were really trained to be careful. at the very least, bagsak ka. mid level action is to be jettisoned out of the department/faculty. capital punishment is to be kicked out of the university. my classmates who were found to be guilty had to transfer schools to avoid further humiliation. i wonder why this senator and or his staff can’t do that.

    and the gall of them to even say that to quote a blogger is not being elegant. hello?! they have this illusion that the turno en contra speech is the ultimate trump card. sad to say, they were hoping for an oscar award for a material hardly fitting a grade school production.

    nakakalungkot kasi sila pang nasa posisyon ung bumabale sa batas. he could have apologized and requested that we move on to the substantial points of the debate. but no. they are adamant in their position that they did nothing wrong.

    sorry. affected ako kasi although i’m for population control, i don’t like this present version of the RH Bill.

    happy birthday MM

  4. Maligayang Kaarawan.

    I had some hours of Journalism in Middle School. The first thing they taught us is “not to copy” somebody else’s writing, and kung hindi naman mapigilan, we have to include the writer’s name. Akala ko, if I paraphrase it, pwede, so ginawa ko, ayun – bagsak ang paper ko.

    Nakakainis na rin talaga itong issue na ito. How could a senator be so…..ayy… tapos ito namang lawyer writer – humihirit pa…Kaya siguro ayaw mag-demanda ni Sarah, she can tell that it will take her hours and hours of “disappointing” fights with our kind of system.

    Nakakahiya tayo sa international crowd. And it happened not only once…but thrice.

  5. Happy Birthday MarketMan!

    May you have many more blessings this coming year and the best of health. More blessings too for your many advocacies.

    And much less reason to hand out fishpan awards (though we enjoy reading about it – ha ha! )!

  6. Stay positive MM. There will come a time when Filipinos will learn to do the right thing …hopefully. It might not be soon but I think with folks like you and your readers, things will change. Happy birthday to a fellow Leo and Dragon :-)

  7. Plagiarism starts at home. In this day and age, you can still hear many parents telling their child to be, well, someone else (specifically someone with traits that are worth emulating). There is really nothing wrong with that on the condition that parents do not sacrifice their child’s ‘individuality’ and ‘originality ‘. But, many parents miserably fail at this as many of them appear to be always looking for traits that are not inherent in their own child. Hence, these kids grow up with a COPYING mentality. Copying becomes a mechanism that enables them to cope and survive. In general, kids copy to be accepted, to gain approval and fame, to belong. Society then worsens the situation by harboring a culture that tolerates and in some cases, glorify copying (imitation as a form of art). Many schools also contribute to the problem as individuality and uniqueness of their students are not celebrated and remain unrecognized.

    What do these kids become like when they grow up? Well, I suppose the answer is pretty obvious. I have studied with them, graduated with them and worked along side with them.

    BTW, MM, Happy birthday!

  8. Happy birthday MM! Haven’t had the chance to read your posts for the last two weeks due to flooding in our area. Lots of catching up to do now that things are better. :)

  9. The plagiarism is bad enough but the reaction of Sotto & his chief of staff is worse. Their reasoning is twisted and wrong. Their reaction, unbecoming of an elected official.

    The incident is making its rounds in US/Intl media. I just hope it will be taken as a reflection of Mr Sotto only and not of Filipinos in general.

  10. Happy Birthday, MM!

    This brings to mind the Larry Henares plagiarism issue years ago. I don’t remember the topic anymore but Larry’s defense was that he has such a photographic memory that he remembered every word he read and wrote it. At least he’s clever.

  11. We have this copyright law in our country –

    According to Wiki:

    “Section 185 of the Intellectual Property Code provides for fair use of copyrighted material. The criteria for fair use is almost identical to the fair use doctrine in United States copyright law, with the exception that even unpublished works qualify as fair use under Philippine copyright law.”

    There is this news in US just recently – “Righthaven Loss: Judge Rules Reposting Entire Article Is Fair Use”


    “It’s not often that republishing an entire work without permission is deemed fair use. Fair use is an infringement defense when the defendant reproduced a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, commentary, teaching and research. The defense is analyzed on a case-by-case basis.”

    According to re: Fair Use Doctrine :

    “Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

    The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes:

    – The nature of the copyrighted work
    – The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    – The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work”

    All the cases of plagiarisms that I’ve read were actually violations of copyright infringement law.

    I would like to quote this one –

    “Schools enforce plagiarism.
    The courts enforce copyright infringement.”

  12. We require all our students to submit papers to us electronically then we run it through Last year, a student who was already on probation for other offences was dismissed after getting caught 2x in a matter of 10 days for plagiarizing. It’s a shame we don’t hold world leaders to that standard.

  13. My UP professor always tell us back then when doing research papers be inspired on what u are reading and the inspiration must be realized on the research paper. that inspiration must be translated and must not be copied. Atty Villacorta (Sen.Sotto’s speech writer and staff)is dead wrong when he said the social media like blogs has no legal jurisprudence. they have authors and they are called bloggers. kung hindi nangyari the tragedy of the death of Sec Robredo the anomaly done by Sen Sotto is still alive on our mainstream media et al. i am sad the uproar has died down na.

  14. Happy Birthday, MM! It’s always a delight to read your blog. May you be blessed with more years of love, joy, peace and of course, yumminess! :)

  15. Dear Mr. Sortijas,

    You’re right, plagiarism is more an academic (or, shall we say, moral / ethical) matter, copyright infringement is a legal one. It’s easy to confuse the two. What is confronting Mr. Sotto is a plagiarism issue more than a copyright infringement one, which is why the doctrine of Fair Use does not apply. At any rate, presumably we as his (unfortunate) constituents should fundamentally be more concerned over the ethical rather than the legal breach our good Senator and his staff have unabashedly committed–and vigorously defended.

  16. Lying thief! That’s how Sarah Pope described Senator Sotto… How appropriate but what a shame…

    Happy birthday MM…

    Happy birthday Nadia…

  17. buking na nga….palos pa (palos-sot!). and to think he is an educated person and an elected public official… i guess that’s what happens when you vote for an Iskul Bukol alumni! kakahiya! as for Helen and Vic defending him, i can understand that’s what family does but how could they do so if he’s guilty? keeping quiet would have been more appropriate. asan na ang delikadeza? so much for role models!

  18. My experience growing up with our culture showed me how common it is. “Pag hindi ka nakisama ikaw pa ang masama.” I remember I went awol on 1 subject in college just to piss off my groupmates who werent doing anything for our project and relying on me to do all the work.

    I’ve met too many people who’d rather take the quick and easy road instead of producing something out of their own efforts. From grade school to high school to college. If you’re studious you’re either a nerd or a weirdo unless of course you’re from a family that is expected to excel. We’re going through the motions of getting educated and then relying on the smarter people to copy from or take care of our problems.

    Its damned hard to get people to think for themselves.

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