“Copy and Paste” .. the easiest way to become an educated person in Iraq

Baghdad The cultural and literary elites in Iraq complain about the expansion of the phenomenon of intellectual property theft without institutional action to curb it. Amidst the chaos of the security and political conditions, the transgression of intellectual property was not limited to literary productions only, but also took many forms of violations in various fields.

Suha Odeh considered that there is a lack of legal and journalistic awareness of dealing with theft of ideas (Al Jazeera Net)

daylight robbery

By chance alone, journalist Suha Odeh collected parts of her articles, which she found completely published in articles for someone else, during his publication in well-known agencies without being attributed to her.

During a search she was doing on the Internet, she was attracted by the title of an article published in a local agency, close to the title of a previous article she had published in an international agency.

After reading, she discovered that entire parts of her articles had been copied and placed unchanged, which prompted her to search for his personal page, and upon finding them, I was shocked that most of his articles were based on parts of other articles by her and others.

Soha decided to review the person concerned and confronted him, so he blocked her from his Facebook page, and dealt with the matter coldly.

She tells Al Jazeera Net, “Theft of intellectual effort has become easy in light of the chaos in Iraq,” adding that there is a lack of legal and journalistic awareness of dealing with such cases.

Copy and paste swiss

And Suha is not the only one, as others have been subjected to intellectual property thefts, including the editor-in-chief of the New World electronic newspaper, Muntazer Nasser, who tells Al Jazeera Net that he has become accustomed to stealing his articles or parts of them.

He added, “Lazy emergency workers and journalists used to copy and paste other articles, or parts of them, and publish them in local and even Arab newspapers, making it easier for them to be stolen.”

He considered that the absence of official action towards such acts made literary and press publications easy prey for every intruder who would find a ready effort in front of him.

Nasser attributed the reason for the prevalence of intellectual theft to two things: First, that press institutions do not demand or are not keen on the issue of intellectual property. The other is that the media outlet that publishes reports or articles without censorship or scrutiny, or verifying the authenticity of their source, bears a large part of the widespread phenomenon of theft.

The poet Omar Al-Saray - Al-Jazeera specialAl-Saray: Intellectual property theft affected poetry and prose (Al-Jazeera Net)

Invasion of intellectual property

The phenomenon of intellectual theft does not stop at the level of reports and press articles, but goes beyond it for literary works, as writers and intellectuals complain about the expansion of intellectual theft operations, and their taking multiple forms, so that the matter turns into something similar to the phenomenon, according to the poet Omar Al-Saray, who explains that the theft of property extended to poetry and prose as well. Some dared to steal books or ideas and attribute them to themselves, and even reached wider levels when they encroached on university theses, which are supposed to be subject to scrutiny and oversight by government institutions.

Intellectuals believe in the increasing phenomenon of intellectual property theft that it does not affect the real owners of these ideas, but rather bypasses them to reflect a bad image of the cultural scene, and casts a negative shadow on intellectuals and publishing houses as well, which is what Saad Mohsen, owner of Sutur Publishing, points out.

Legal expert Tariq Harb - Al Jazeera specialHarb: Intellectual property is preserved in Iraq by law, but it is neglected and not practically applied (Al-Jazeera Net)

neglected laws

Copyright laws No. 30 of 1971 and Resolution 84 of the Coalition Provisional Authority provide protection for intellectual property rights by punishing intellectual property thieves with imprisonment and a fine, but these laws are not enforced.

Legal expert Tariq Harb confirmed to Al Jazeera Net that intellectual property is preserved under the law in Iraq, but it is neglected and not applied in practice.

He added that Iraq has a publishing court specialized in looking into this aspect, in addition to the initiation of the Ministry of Culture to establish a national center related to copyright protection.

Hind Al-Hadithi, member of the Publication Court and Director of the National Center for the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights of the Ministry of Culture, explains that the role of the center is to document literary, artistic and scientific works and all that is written, but it depends on the registration of the author and everyone who has an intellectual and cultural artistic product to document and record their works and products in The center, as I wrote on the website of the Supreme Judicial Council.

She indicated that many cases “come to us, and we, in turn, refer them to the publishing court to be the defining line,” explaining that the center does not undertake legal litigation because the law does not grant powers of legal follow-up other than documentation and proof of rights.

There is no statistics on the number of cases of intellectual property theft as a result of government institutions’ reliance on cases brought by the author only, at a time when a large number of writers and intellectuals demand the formation of a special institution for the protection of intellectual property, keeping pace with the changes taking place, in addition to not limiting the right of protection to the author by documenting the intellectual product in Iraqi Books and Documents House.

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