Plagiarism and the Mainstream Media.

The blatant disregard for intellectual property rights on the internet is troubling enough, but when we see this creep into the mainstream media, it becomes disheartening and to some extent, shameful.

This weekend, I was shocked by the news from fellow bloggers that an article originally written by Enrico Dee, known as Byahilo on the blogosphere, was infringed upon by the mainstream media. As noted by Byahilo, his article on a cake shop in Bacolod was grossly plagiarized by a Cebu based paper, The Freeman. The same article was also printed in the website PhilStar.com.  (I was planning to add a link here for you to see the article, but when I tried to access it guess what: it had been taken down. However, screen caps of the said article are available in Byahilo’s site.)

In my line of work, it really irks me when my students copy from websites or what not in the papers they submit to me. I tell them that even blog sites should not be copied, and if ever they do get some information from somewhere, adding the words “according to” or “taken from” and the like is expected. I have been somewhat more lenient compared to some of my fellow faculty, in a sense that I reprimand and give them an opportunity to revise before giving them a failing mark. However, as with my previous article, how can we teach the youth what is right when those who are in the workforce (or whatever area that may be) do not do what is right?

I join my fellow bloggers in calling for a more ethical and fair media, one that honors the intellectual property rights of bloggers. Many of us in the blogosphere may not be journalism graduates. We may not have the necessary technical skills and knowledge journalists do. Perhaps we don’t get paid the way journalists do, but that doesn’t make us less of authors or our work and we deserve credit where credit is due. The author of the article, Oliver Victor B. Amoroso, should be held accountable for his misdeeds. The Freeman and the PhilStar.com  likewise should take steps to safeguard the rights of writers everywhere, on and offline.

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