On “plagiarism” and celebrity in the blogosphere

There is celebrity and there is notoriety. They are not the same. In the former, there is fame and sometimes fortune, but no cookie. In the latter there is infamy and disfavor, and definitely no ice cream.

There is civilized discussion, and there is much of the blogosphere where contrary views are recorded but both sides refuse to listen. They are also not the same. In the former, views are exchanged. In the latter, views are disparaged.

In an earlier post, I was concerned that Paula Defensor Knack appeared to call for a moratorium on discussion of the issue of plagiarism in the Philippine Supreme Court.

Knack informs me that she has no wish for celebrity, and she has responded with comments that are fully in the spirit of civilized discussion.

Briefly (and I paraphrase), Knack said:

–         She is “not against criticism of judicial action per se.” But she believes it is improper for lawyers to comment on a pending case.

–         She believes it is improper for any of the UP-37 to solicit comments from foreign bar associations, again because the comments would be on a case that has not attained finality.

–         On the plagiarism case, she suggests that “[a] dialogue between the [UP] faculty and the Supreme Court might also prove to be a constructive approach.” In Knack’s view, an out-of-court dialogue would help avoid a confrontation wherein the Court would threaten a charge of contempt, while the UP-37 would call for support from foreign bar associations as a “last resort.” She believes there is no need for hysteria in the face of a show-cause order.

I believe Knack’s views merit sober reflection and consideration. For myself, I believe that the Sub Judice rule can apply only within narrow ranges, as otherwise it would suffer from “overbreadth” and abridge freedom of expression.

Both Knack and I agree that this case may well enrich the jurisprudence on plagiarism, the nature and bounds of academic freedom, and the application of the Sub Judice rule. We both hope that sober minds, both critical and constructive, will ultimately prevail.


One thought on “On “plagiarism” and celebrity in the blogosphere

  1. I wish to clarify that the vagueness finding which has been attributed to me recently is not correct. It is former Chief Justice Panganiban’s opinion/article which I cited in a previous topic on Opinio Juris entitled “An Open Appeal to fellow International Legal Scholars” posted on 22 October 2010. There were several topics related to the plagiarism case, a few days apart, in Opinio Juris.

    I cited former Chief Justice Panganiban’s article in the Inquirer from which
    the implication of vagueness first appears :


    In fairness to former Chief Justice Panganiban, the analysis was his and first appeared here, which I cited.

    Credit therefore, belongs to former Chief Justice Panganiban.

    Thank you,
    Paula Defensor Knack


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