The Pinoy internet world went abuzz over Senator Sotto’s “plagiarism” against the work of a foreign blogger named Sarah Pope.
In his defense, Senator Sotto said he did not plagiarize anything because Pope’s work was not copyrighted. So this brings us to the next question, are blog articles protected by copyright?
The answer is definitely yes.
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, further provides the principle of automatic protection. This principle emphasizes the fact that a work is protected by copyright at the moment of its creation hence protection needs no formality. This means that you don’t have to register your work in order to be copyrighted unlike patents or inventions. You really don’t need to go to some sort of a Copyright Registry just to protect a blog article or any other literary piece you create.
Since a work is copyrighted the moment it is created, the author of such work is vested with rights which include, among others, attribution rights. This means that no one, not even a Senator, can just grab a piece of the work and appropriate it for his own without asking permission or acknowledging the author (Fair Use of Copyrighted/Protected Materials). A simple acknowledgement would have sufficed considering that, after all, the piece was used while in the exercise of congressional privileges.