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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Philippines senator accused of copyright plagiarism

A US blogger named Janice Formichella has accused Philippines Senator Tito Sotto of copying whole passages from a pro-choice blog post she wrote several years ago. Apparently the Senator then reversed the meaning in an August 2012 anti-choice speech in which he argued against a reproductive health bill in the Philippines. This is not the first second time he has been accused of lifting talks from US bloggers and he has also been accused of copying Robert Kennedy speeches.

His chief of staff has now admitted some copying but insists that there is no IP violation and refers to the IP Code 177 which covers the economic rights to reproduce.

Fair use might apply assuming copyright subsists, which it surely does in the blog posts. But proper attribution is still required for quotes, or fair use is an infringement. In any event the definition of fair use is for "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research, and similar purposes". Its not at all clear that the Senator is doing any of these things.

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