Plagiarism also a crime under Cybercrime law - DOJ
MANILA, Philippines - Plagiarism -- or passing off another person's work as one's own -- is also punishable under the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday, October 2.
In an advisory opinion, the DOJ said that plagiarism, only if it corresponds to a copyright infringement under the Intellectual Property Code, could be considered a cybercrime under Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime law.
President Benigno Aquino III signed the new law on September 12.
The DOJ pointed out that while cybercrimes generally include cyber-attacks, online fraud, cybersex and child pornography, Sec 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act also states that it covers "all crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws."
The Intellectual Property Code is a special law. Under the IPC, the act of plagiarism -- when it amounts to copyright infringement -- carries a penalty of 3-6 years imprisonment and a fine of P50,000-P150,000. Under the Cybercrime Prevention Act, however, the penalty is a degree higher.
"In sum, plagiarism does not in itself result in a criminal violation unless it also constitutes copyright infringement under the IPC. There is infringement when any of the copyright or economic rights under Sec. 177 of the IPC is violated by any other person, or when any of the acts in Sec 217.3 are committed," the DOJ said.
Stories about plagiarism recently hit the headlines after Sen Vicente 'Tito' Sotto lifted parts of his speech against the reproductive health bill from a post written by a blogger called Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist.
Sotto was also attacked for translating a speech by the late US Sen Robert Kennedy in Filipino and turning it into his own speech again. His speech in Filipino was also against the reproductive health bill. Sotto is one of the senators who voted for the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention bill.
In 2010, Supreme Court Justice Mariano del Castillo also saw himself in hot water after he allegedly plagiarized parts of the decision he penned on the Vinuya v. Romulo case from 3 foreign legal experts. He is now facing an impeachment complaint. - Rappler.com
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