This week’s trending topic was about a graduate schoolstudent who plagiarized a copyrighted photo, submitted it as his own in a competition
and won the top prize. He apologized for his "lapse of judgment" since. Of course, netizens ganged up on the guy and the news
spread like wildfire in a short span of time. A lot of them expressed their
anger and disappointment over the student’s irresponsible deed—similar to what
they felt with Chris Lao and Ate Girl-Who-Made-A-Commotion at the LRT. Others
even connected this form of cheating with the current pork barrel issue. According
to them, it is clear manifestation of how entrenched corruption and unethical
behavior had been in the Philippine society. Our leaders did it, might as well
the rest follow because they weren’t even caught. Or if they are, they can
easily get away with it. Some others said that such talk should stop now
especially that the student already wrote a letter of apology to the owner.
They said it’s enough for him to admit his mistake.
For one, I think it is clear that this student deliberately copied
somebody else’s work—the fact that he submitted that to different contests and
crafted a different story for each submission are grounds enough to pin the
greater burden of the blame to him. The idea of taking another person’s work
and passing it as your own, deliberate or not, is plagiarism.
But secondly, discussions on such should not end on virtually
crucifying just about anyone. It should take a step forward and find a solution
to this problem. On one hand, schools and universities have every
responsibility to instill not just the lesson of properly acknowledging somebody
else’s work but more so, the greater value of creating an output that is
completely yours. On the other hand, the government also have to take part of
the responsibility on preventing plagiarism from happening almost all the time.
At one point in recent history, a senator and a Supreme Court associate justice
were caught plagiarizing: Senator Tito Sotto when he leniently copied a speech by a foreign politician, lifted several
paragraphs from a blog post, and even twisting its message to suit his personal
legislative agenda, and Justice Del Castillo for his plagiarized ponente/ courtdecision on the of comfort women. Proper sanctions, if necessary, should be
established for those who will commit plagiarism. As said, it is one thing to
admire another person’s work and a whole new different story to rip it off and
claim as yours.
Finally, you can hate all you want—post it as a status, tweet
it or even broadcast it over Youtube, but always make sure there’s a valuable
solution that you can contribute to resolving the problem. We already know that
cheating and deliberate copy-paste work is not cool and is clearly wrong. Let
us just make sure we won’t fall prey on the same trap that Mark Solis fell in.
Get off the high horse and double check your work now. J
Labels: plagiarism, school, school pride, UP, writing