Lawyer defends Sotto on blogger’s plagiarism charge

August 22, 2012 10:40 pm 

By Johnny C. Nunez

MANILA, Aug. 22 — By definition, copying ideas, concepts, thoughts and text materials without proper attribution from their original authors constitute plagiarism. In the absence of exiting definitive laws, what kind of punishment, harsh or soft, may be applied in such case?

The issue was discussed extensively by Atty. Hector Villacorta, chief of Staff of Senator Tito Sotto’s office at the Balitaan sa Aloha, a joint press forum jointly sponsored by Pilipinas Ngayon Na (PNN) headed by Lolly Acosta and the Publishers Association Inc. (PAPI) led by its president, Luis T. Arriola at the Aloha Hotel.

Scheduled every Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. Balitaaan will henceforth be a weekly press forum by PNN and PAPI, Acosta and Arriola said. Its venue is the Aloha Hotel Coffee Shop at the corner of Quirino Avenue and Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

“If we know we can kind a cheat, lie and deceive a little, we do it all the time; sad but we do it anyway!” noted Acosta.

Picking it from there, Atty. Villacorta, defended Sen. Tito Sotto from the charge of plagiarism hurled at him by Sandra Pope, an American social network blogger, relative to Sotto’s emotionally vehement stance against the controversial Reproductive Health Bill (RHB) pending in Congress.

Pope accused Sotto of plagiarizing the items she posted on her blog account for his failure to attribute the material to her. Villacorta said Sotto instead attributed the materials to their original author, Dr. Natasha Campbell–McBride, a medical specialist.

Villacorta said Sotto merely saw it more proper to attribute the expert medical opinion to Dr. Campbell-McBride, the original author of the ideas, when he used it to rationalize his opposition to the controversial RH bill.

The lawyer said there is actually no clear law in the country which defines plagiarism as a crime, except for Section 185 of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) law.

Sandra Pope’s allegations of plagiarism against Sotto, Villacorta stressed, is utterly without merit. (PNA)

FPV/JCN/UTB

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