Copyright – Plagiarism is avoidable
Plagiarism and misuse of other people’s works has always existed, but today these crimes seem to be commonplace. The biggest challenge authors face is proving plagiarism and proving who is the true owner of the work.
On this occasion, we bring you some practical legal advice to strengthen the protection of your creations and thus avoid the commission of illegal actions that violate your intellectual property rights.
Copyrights are those that protect all artistic, literary or scientific creation. In order for the creation to be protected, a minimum of originality is required and that the work reflects the author’s creative effort, they may be unfinished and unpublished.
Copyrights protect both moral rights -related to paternity and integrity of the work-, as well as patrimonial rights -related to exploitation and economic enjoyment-. These are born at the time of the creation of the work, so the author does not need to carry out any procedure to acquire them.
Likewise, by virtue of the Berne Convention, of which Argentina is a party, it establishes national treatment within its principles. For this reason, our legislation provides broad protection since both a foreign work and a national work enjoy equal rights and their protection will not be subordinated to any formality (Principle of automatic protection).
What is considered and how plagiarism is configured
Plagiarizing consists of appropriating another person’s work by presenting it as one’s own. We are facing plagiarism when a work is published by suppressing the name of the original author and placing another name, or when part of a work is published within another without mentioning the source.
However, not every copy or inclusion of another person’s work is considered plagiarism. There are exceptions such as those works that have entered the public domain or the so-called right of quotation that allows the use of fragments of certain lengths of works for educational or scientific purposes.
In the event that plagiarism occurs, Law 11,723 establishes that the author of the original work may initiate precautionary measures, civil and criminal actions, claiming damages and/or denouncing the crime of plagiarism, according to each case.
Some practical tips to prevent plagiarism:
1. Register the work
The copyright arises with the act of creation of the work and its registration (or deposit) is not mandatory. However, the procedure is recommended for the purpose of granting legal certainty and reliable proof of its authorship, that is, a certain date of when the work was created, certainty of the author and its content.
In other words, the deposit does not constitute rights but has a merely declarative effect, since it does not attribute copyright, but grants ownership to exploit it exclusively.
With the inscription in the registry, a presumption of authorship is created and the burden of proof is reversed, so that the third party that disputes it will be the one who must demonstrate their best right over the work.
In this context, most LATAM countries adopt this system and each one has a public body in charge of registering and protecting the intellectual property of works.
2. Confidentiality agreement and registration of contracts referring to the work
Likewise, the second piece of advice is to sign a confidentiality agreement before sharing the work with a third party, through which it is recognized that the work is the exclusive property of the author and accepts the commitment not to disclose its content.
In the same way, if the author signs a contract referring to the work (whether for its diffusion, edition, publication, assignment, etc.) it is important to register it. Although this act is voluntary and therefore not mandatory, like the registration of the work, it provides legal certainty both on the date it was carried out and as proof of its content.
3. Licenses on the work
For those contents created and published on the Internet, the author can grant licenses that allow third parties to use the works under certain conditions chosen by the creator of the content, recognizing, for example, who is the owner of the original work.
Blockchain pages are presented as another useful alternative to protect intangible assets and prove the existence and ownership of the work. It consists of uploading the digital content to the page, from then on no third party is allowed to modify it. The system certifies the existence of the file on a specific date and time, and although it is not yet officially recognized by the authorities, it serves as evidence.
In short, it is important to know that your copyright can be protected in different ways and, consequently, before publishing and/or sharing your works with third parties, we recommend safeguarding your intellectual property to prevent possible plagiarism and avoid costly legal actions.
For more information and any queries regarding this topic, contact us at our email firstname.lastname@example.org