“Kung plagiarism ang daming nagpa-plagiarize, you use the same typefaces all the time (If we plagiarized it we would have copied it en toto),” (Secretary Alberto Lim) said.
Ideas are underrated in this country. That was my first reaction after seeing The Social Network some weeks ago. From the movie, we learned that the Winklevoss twins, the purported brains behind the Facebook concept, received US$65 million just for thinking about putting up such a website—they didn’t even have to write a single line of programming script or code.
I walked out of the theater with such great awe for the Americans—they have such a tremendous respect for ideas that paying millions of dollars for them is not such a crazy idea.
That concept is weak here, and being a third world country is no excuse; we pay celebrity endorsers millions of pesos. I used to be satisfied with how much the Philippine Daily Inquirer pays me for my contributions because I know it’s slightly above industry standards. However, I got a good dousing of cold water when I was asked to contribute an article by an international publisher of airline magazines and I saw the paycheck: the difference was a whopping 1,500 percent. That’s how much other countries value ideas, in my case written in paper, and in such an environment, one would really be inspired to create original work.
Here, where magazines often pay their writers with gift certificates (if they actually get around to paying them) and with freelance writers hawking their talents to outsourcing companies for as little as P1 per word, it’s no wonder that there is little regard for authorship and people unapologetically copy and paste another person’s work and pass it off as their own—original work is undervalued. It’s seemingly becoming normal and ingrained in our national psyche that I can’t even wrap my mind around it—case in point: aside from UP and DLSU, no other school has spoken out against the Supreme Court’s blatant plagiarism; I can’t get over that!!!
And now, you have the DOT Secretary with no remorse at all, casually dismissing what I find to be a serious offense. Maybe stoning plagiarists to death wasn’t such a bad idea after all.