I decided to talk about copyright issue as possible plagiarism of my work was mentioned after I translated a Chinese poem.


Someone recently informed me that there is a translation contest hosted by National Taiwan University.  Not knowing about the contest, I have recently translated Bai Juyi’s《因望月有感,聊書所懷》and posted my translation of that poem on my website.  One of my readers was afraid that someone who is about to enter the contest might plagiarize my translation work.  To counteract plagiarism of my work carried out by anyone entering the contest, I have already sent my translation of that poem along with the links to my blog articles to National Taiwan University for their reference.  This way, if they do find anyone plagiarizing my translation, they can disqualify that person's entry.  Beware, National Taiwan University has indicated in its website that the plagiarist's real name will be revealed to the public if plagiarism is found.


It is sad that some people are plain ignorant of plagiarism.  Even though you may be free to read articles posted on the internet, it does not mean that you are free to steal part or all of the contents.  You do not have the right to make or distribute copies of the contents even with a link back to the original source if you did not receive the permission from the owner/creator or if the site does not state otherwise.


Every article posted on the Internet is considered intellectual property protected under copyright laws.  Copyright infringement is illegal and a violation of the Copyright Laws.  Penalties for violating a copyright may be severe.  The copyright law allows for the recovery of statutory damages, which may be as high as $100,000 for each infringement.  Read Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code (Circular 92, §§ 101—122: Chapter 1: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright) http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html




For international copyright agreement/protection, please read Circular 38A: international copyright relations of the United States. http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ38a.pdf  This publication sets forth United States copyright relations of current interest with the other independent nations of the world.  Most countries offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions that have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions such as the Berne Convention, the Geneva Phonograms Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the WTO Agreement, and any other copyright treaty to which the United States is a party.


This publication documents the countries that are parties to specific multilateral agreements or bilateral relationships.  The list indicates which agreements each country has signed and the date each agreement took effect.


For example:

Bilateral copyright relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America were established, effective Mar. 17, 1992, by a presidential proclamation of the same date, under the authority of section 104 of title 17 of the United States Code, as amended on Oct. 31, 1988 (Public Law 100-568, 102 Stat. 2853, 2855).  People’s Republic of China signed Berne (Paris) agreement on Oct. 15, 1992, UCC Geneva agreement on Oct. 30, 1992, UCC Paris agreement on Oct. 30, 1992, Phonograms agreement on Apr. 30, 1993, WTO agreement on Dec. 11, 2001, WCT agreement on June 9, 2007 and WPPT agreement on June 9, 2007.


Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) signed WTO agreement on Jan. 1, 2002.  In the territory administered by the authorities on Taiwan, the treaty is considered to be in force.


The above statements regarding international agreements are extracted from Circular 38A published by United States Copyright Office.


To learn more about copyright, please refer to the links below.

Introduction to Copyrights

10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained

Copyright Crash Course

What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content


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