Just recently, Philippine netizens reacted over Senator Sotto’s “plagiarism” of the work of an American Blogger named Sarah Pope. It was first denied by both Sotto and his chief of staff, Atty. Henry Villacorta. The Senator maintained that he did not plagiarize anything saying in the news that;
“ Natasha Campbell-McBride. And in my speeches, even in my first speech and my second speech, I’ve always said, every now and then .” (This blogger they’re mentioning, we got it from the same source. Our source is Natasha Campbell-McBride. And I’ve always said, I’m not pretending to be wise. This does not come from me.)
Natasha Campbell-McBride.” (Why should I quote a blogger? She’s just a blogger. I’m quoting Natasha Campbell-McBride.)
In a surprising twist after, his chief of staff finally admitted that parts of the Senator’s speech against the RH bill indeed were copied from a blog by the foreign author who calls herself the “Healthy Home Economist”, to the dismay of the blogger. "Let me say that after asking my staff, indeed your blog was used but only in quoting also from the same book of Dr. Campbell-Mcbride." Atty. Villacorta maintained.
Sarah Pope responded to Villacorta in her blog's comments section saying, "I don't like the fact that my blog was used without my permission against the education of the women of the Philippines and their reproductive rights.” The blogger further explained that the issue in question is plagiarism.
“My blog was quoted, not Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. I put her work in my own words and you copied my words." Sarah Pope concluded.
As most bloggers were not amused by this ‘Sotto fiasco’, social media like facebook, twitter and blogs were bombarded with internet memes which made fun of the Senator and the plagiarism issue. Senator Sotto, in his defense, maintained that he did not plagiarize anything because Sarah Pope’s work was not copyrighted.
So are blog articles protected by copyright?
We think so.
A (literary, artistic, or scientific) work is protected by copyright at the moment of its creation. The Berne Convention, which the Philippines is a signatory of, also provides the principle of automatic protection. This principle emphasizes that a work is protected by copyright at the moment of its creation hence protection needs no formality. It means that one may not register a work in order to be copyrighted unlike patents or inventions.