Copyright Enforcement: New Law Would Make Plagiarism A Misdemeanor


Society | 10.09.13 | 16:05

By Siranuysh Gevorgyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Through legislative changes law-makers and media experts in Armenia
hope to restrain unscrupulous reporters and media representatives
who often resort to plagiarism or make improper use of the content
produced by other news outlets without posting the reference to either
the author or the news outlet.

Enlarge Photo Ashot Melikyan

On Monday the parliament discussed and Tuesday unanimously passed
by first hearing the bill on amendments to the law on “Copyright
and Related Rights” submitted by Republican faction MP Arpine
Hovhannisyan. The law is co-authored by eight MPs from four factions
of the National Assembly.

The authors say the bill aims at defining in detail the order of
using articles (fully or partly) published by newspapers, magazines,
periodicals and internet news websites.

Article 22 of the law puts restrictions on usage of another’s work,
including properly identifying the source of the original content.

Violators would face a fine of up to about $480.

Prior to the drafting of this law a number of media turned to
self-regulatory measures by setting terms of cooperation trying this
way to fight widespread abuse of copyright. And although editors have
set terms of using one another’s production, reporters of Facebook
group “For Conscientious Reporting” come across articles in other
news outlets, where the fruit of their thought and efforts is stolen
or copy-pasted without proper reference to the author or the website.

Head of the Freedom of Speech Protection Committee Ashot Melikyan
told ArmeniaNow that the law is doubtlesssly going to need amendments.

“Nobody can claim for hundred percent that the law would act at
its fullest capacity, but the fact that the reporter community was
interested and initiated this process is a step aimed at making the
field healthier. It is very important for those breaking copyright
in their daily activities to straighten up and understand that it
is forbidden by the law. It is important that precedents happen when
breach of that law is punished, meaning if someone has violated the
copyright of the given media reporter, s/he should sue the wrongdoer,”
says Melikyan, stressing at the same time that he has noticed little
positive change in the field after the editors’ statement.

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