Senate Majority Floor Leader Tito Sotto recently broke down into tears while delivering a speech opposing the Reproductive Health bill in the upper chamber. Together with the Catholic Church, Sotto is one of the most vocal and active opponents of the said controversial measure.
It was soon revealed that some parts of his speech were taken from the blog of someone named Sarah, an American who styles herself as a healthy home economist (seehttp://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/) In her own words, Sarah described herself like so: .
“I am a 40-something, Wife and Mother of three. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Furman University and a Master of Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, I left my ten year career designing and implementing financial systems for corporate and governmental clients to become a Mom – the BEST Mom I could be (never perfect). This entailed learning a massive amount about nutrition in order to birth and raise healthy children with no learning disabilities, allergies or other issues that are so prevalent in our young ones today. As a result, since 2002, I’ve found myself in the role as a Nutrition Educator and Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting the truth about nutrition out to the masses.”
Predictably, Sotto was charged with plagiarism. In response, those in the pro-Sotto camp noted that his detractors did not notice a qualification made at the start of his speech–a qualification that he used another’s words. Sotto, however, did not identify his generous lender of such words as:
“Gut imbalance brought on through use of The Pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, even if a woman eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring.”
In cyberspace, several derivative arguments and issues were forwarded and debated. One, that plagiarism is a small offense compared to the violation of God’s law to preserve human life at every stage. Next, do blog writers have copyright to their blogs? One camp believed they do while another thought otherwise.
As a writer myself, I believe that all writers must be properly recognized. This means that when others use their work, the user must acknowledge the latter’s authorship. However, there are proposals to reform the old copyright system. Wikipedia reports of Creative Commons, a non-profit organization based in California “devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.”
I have not yet applied for a CC license and may not even do so. Since my blog is published in cyber-sphere, I am aware of the greater chances of being plagiarized. I can only hope that users will not do so since acknowledging my work takes only a few keystrokes. For example, if you want to cite this blog entry, you just have to copy-paste its Universal Resource Locator (URL) , like so:
That will not make you cry, won’t it?