MANILA – The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) said it deplores the recent plagiarism act committed by University of the Philippines student Mark Joseph Solis as the institution calls on the public to respect the rights of all artists.
In a statement signed by CCP president Raul Sunico and vice president and artistic director Chris Millado, the institution said it was “shameless” for Solis to pass off a winning photograph as his own.
The CCP is one of the partners in the Embassy of Chile’s Calidad Humana Project, which includes the “Smiles for the World” photo contest where Solis won.
“Mr. Solis wove a fictional account of the circumstances around the photograph by claiming he met the subject. He not only violated the rights of Gregory John Smith, the owner of the photograph, but he also took advantage of the plight of typhoon victims whom he claimed as subject,” CCP said.
“His action becomes even more shameless when he personally received his prizes from Ambassador Roberto Mayorga during the celebration of the National Day of Chile, an important diplomatic affair attended by no less than members of the diplomatic corps, cabinet secretaries and representatives of the project partners.”
The CCP also noted Solis’ many instances of using other people’s photos.
“This becomes especially glaring after learning that he committed the same copyright infringement at least five times before. Moreover, his transgression tainted a noble program spearheaded by Ambassador Mayorga, which is Calidad Humana, as it aims to highlight Filipino virtues and strength of human character,” it said.
Given these, the CCP said Solis now has to “prove himself to be of stronger mettle to live down the deed and to prove to people he is capable of integrity.”
“In line with the CCP mandate, we enjoin the cultural community to uphold and respect the rights of all artists; to exercise discipline and honesty in all creative endeavors; and to be steadfast in protecting the intellectual property rights of every individual,” it said.
Solis has apologized to the public for his actions, saying that he did these because of certain “needs.”
His former boss, however, belied Solis’ claim that he needs financial help.