THE institutions in the Philippines are bombarded with problems on infringement of intellectual property rights such as software, music and optical media piracy, plagiarism, unlicensed reproduction of work, copyright infringement, imitation of products, and other acts which disregard the value for originality. Filipinos are naturally creative and full of ideas as evidenced by the wide array of publications in almost all fields of study. However, this same creativity, if not harnessed for noble purposes, may be used for ignoble purposes constituting the above-mentioned violative acts.
The word “originality” is usually associated with original works such as new inventions, new discoveries, innovations, new methods, new procedures, and other novelties. Cambridge dictionary defines originality as the quality of being special and interesting and not the same as anything or anyone else.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines originality as the quality of being original as well as being new and different in a good and appealing way. Currently, we have laws that protect the integrity of original and derivative works such as the The Intellectual Property Code (Republic Act 8293), Electronic Commerce Act of 2002 (RA 8792), Protection of Lay-out Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits (RA 9150), Protection of New Plant Varieties (RA 9168), and Optical Media Act (RA 9239). These laws also provide for the actions to be undertaken by the authorities for 1 erring persons, and also provides for the penalties in case of infringements of the rights stated therein.
As agents of values restoration, how do we value originality? Do we watch movies from pirated CDs and DVDs? Do we use imitation garments and gear to satisfy the pride of life in wearing something with “signature?” Do we copy someone’s original work or ideas and claim it as ours? If your answers are all “no,” you are on the right track. These are just some of the questions and minute actions that will enable us to reflect on the value of originality.
What can we do then to fortify the value for originality? We can start by patronizing original works and genuine products; by acknowledging the people who have contributed and paved the way for innovations, discoveries, and great masterpieces; by respecting and honoring the people like the inventors, writers, scientists, artists and programmers for their effort, dedication and hard work, and in the same way in recognizing the institutions that dedicated their resources in bringing about new ideas and things that made lives better; and by acknowledging the authors’ works through proper citation and referencing.
However, there is a more excellent way in strengthening the value of originality - that is to recognize that these original works are not possible without the inner workings of God in our lives. We must recognize that all things are created by Him and through Him. All original ideas and work has come from Him and from His inspiration - that is, the breath of God. Antoni Gaudi, a Spain Architect known for his distinct and nature-based organic style, said that “Originality consists in 2 returning to the origin.” True, originality consist in returning to Creator Himself, our 3 Origin, for after all, apart from Him, we cannot do anything. So express originality in 4 all that you do. Let every work from your mind and of your hands be products of inspiration and life in God, the author of Originality.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on July 17, 2017.
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