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Plagiarism in music is stealing.

I know first hand how frustrating and infuriating it can be when someone plagiarizes your work and that person has the gall to not only pretend it is his original work but even brags about it.

The nerve of some people...

During the first year I was writing for, I had by chance come across a blog which made me sit up, quite startled. 'Hey! that's my article!' I thought to myself. Why, this person had posted half of my article verbatim! Made aware of the presence of this vermin, I would then periodically check out his posts and I discovered his pattern. He was selecting specific paragraphs from my articles, then rearrange them and make them appear as his different posts. Boy, this critter...

But, wait! Later on, I was to learn he was not a lone wolf in the woods on the prowl for ideas, thoughts, subject matters because I would see my own lines pop up here and there. And it permanently made me aware and realize that there are these kinds of lowly parasites who feed on the creativity and originality of writers and columnists.

For those who can't relate how it feels for others to steal your work-something that you had worked hard on-just you wait and count your lucky stars for now. Because one of the most prone and wide open industries to plagiarism is none other than in the music industry. It is here where for the sneaky, dishonorable and untalented it has become a shopping spree for them with unlimited credit.

These plagiarists do not give a damn... because for these shady and questionable individuals blatantly copying the melodies of other songs, stealing the lyrics, ripping off the guitar riff, mimicking the drum pattern, emulating the song structure and so on, are there for the picking for them. And they do so arrogantly as though it is their God-given right. The temerity of it all to think they did not do any hard work to compose it. They did not spend hours or days and sometimes months on end trying to create their own unique melodies and putting the lyrics to their own songs. With such devious actions, there is no question in my mind that they themselves have neither honor nor respect for their own chosen profession.

All they did was to use these stolen songs as their own blueprint only to make a poor imitation of these songs with tweakings here and there so that-they hope-it is not too obvious to people that they did plagiarize them. Why do I say poor imitation? Because nothing, and nothing else, beats the original.

Isn't it a supreme irony that they put in more work, more effort, more time to conceal the truth and keep their plagiarism hidden especially from people who are uninformed and unaware of what has truly taken place behind closed doors and what they hope will remain secret forever.

Plagiarism is always intentional. It is done with premeditation. It is done with malice. It is done with deception. Does this not constitute a crime? To top it all, it is done with no remorse whatsoever.

I find it sad that plagiarism has become a lucrative practice for decades already. Never mind that is the reality in the music industry both here and abroad. Plagiarism does happen and it is still being done, shamelessly.

And for those who are exposed of it, finally caught red-handed for having put their hand in the cookie jar one too many times... Wow ! What 'drama' and ruckus they will raise as though there is some grand conspiracy to destroy their reputation or that it is because they are 'hated' or that it is some personal vendetta against them? Delusional of them, I have to say. So laughable to make such preposterous claims. What a way of muddling the real issue here. And what is the issue here? PLAGIARISM!!! Got it?

Hey, you fakes! You have this false sense of entitlement and think way too highly of yourselves that you think committing plagiarism is something that can just be shrugged off. Do not pass on the blame to me for having discovered your dastardly act-by mere chance, mind you- and having been the very first one to have exposed it on mainstream media.

People have finally found out what is one of your main methods of making songs. And what is that? It is plagiarizing songs made by below the radar bands coming from foreign countries located in far corners of the world. Truly, you guys are shameless and cocky to do that thinking that no one will ever find out about it. What were you guys thinking in the first place?! In this day and age, nothing can remain hidden and swept under the rug like a 'skeleton' in your closet. It will and it will always be revealed in time.

Well, too bad for you guys! I have been a huge fan of the foreign band from whom you shamelessly plagiarized a song. And who knows now how many other songs you have plagiarized from that band and from many others still below the radar indie bands from different parts of the world?

Have you ever stopped to think of what would have happened if it was the foreign band itself from who you had plagiarized a song that found about it first and not anyone from the media? I bet you the outcome would have been much, much worse and we are talking about legal ramifications here. What would you guys do now? Would you accuse them of 'hate' also? Good grief, they don't even know the heck who you guys are. Would you use the same reasoning? Think of that.

Stop having this 'victim mode' mentality when you guys are not the victims at all here. Do not reverse the roles. You guys are the ones who 'victimize' those you have ROBBED of full credit that SOLELY belongs to the foreign band you had plagiarized by pretending shamelessly that you have come out with an original song. You guys knew very well the big risks involved in plagiarism-possible very expensive lawsuits-but you still went forward with it. That alone says a lot about you.

Of course, I know you guys searched even bands from Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and other countries, and not only from Canada. You guys need not have to understand the songs even if it is not performed in English. All you do are to break down the songs, study the melody, imitate the vibe of the song, incorporate specific parts of the song, and then gleefully pretend you have come out with an original. Why, you even go as low as to deceive yourselves! Tsk, tsk, tsk. Ever heard this saying yet? 'One who lies often begins to believe his own lies.'

So, do not ever dare blame anyone if you have lost some of your fan bases and that some of your peers have lost respect for you guys. Because you did this to yourselves and no one else. Was everyone from the local media supposed to remain silent on the matter? Let me make it very clear with you guys. I exposed you out of principle and I will do it again if I have to because the act of plagiarism IS what damages OPM!

What if the tables were turned on you? How would you then feel if some foreign band or a number of local bands plagiarized any of the original songs you may have? I bet you guys would raise hell about it and would expect mainstream media coverage. Do not have a double standard here. It is never going to be okay to plagiarize the songs of other bands or solo artists because it is their INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. It is their creation. It does not belong to you.

I do not want the local young and upcoming bands and artists to tolerate and imitate what you guys do. Being that you guys have been around since the mid-2000's, you guys should know better and should be the ones instead to set a good and positive example to them by not committing plagiarism.

The 'O' in OPM means original, does it not? Forget that not, even when it becomes convenient for you to do so.

Now, grow up. Stop passing the blame on me and on others because you got caught. Stop plagiarizing songs whether they are from local or foreign bands. Neither dip your dirty fingers into the creative works of solo artists. Have a conscience.

Never again question my passion for OPM and the immeasurable support I give to the local scene.

Learn from your own dastardly acts of plagiarism.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:May 2, 2017
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