Dean, Sassed

I’m preparing to leave for Clark, to join other journalists in an annual exercise in navel-gazing, but I can’t resist writing about what is the latest — and apparently the last — encounter between Sassy Lawyer and Philippine Commentary, also known by his real name Dean Jorge Bocobo.

I found out about it when I followed a two-day-old link in Manolo Quezon’s blog yesterday, to what he called the "most star-studded" comment thread in years. (For the record, I agree with Manolo; Caloy Conde’s take on PCIJ’s unHappy adventure seems to be right on the money.)

I am not a regular reader of Sassy; following the link made me remember why.

In reply to a series of loaded questions from Dean, about the provenance of the artwork made by the inappropriately named Bulletproof Vest and which ends with a query about the country’s "Intellectual Property Rights Act," Sassy wrote (at 8:19 pm on January 25):

Since Happy might not be able to view your comment right away, Dean, let me state that Happy is a graphics artist by profession.

Your accusations suck in substance and in form.

And it’s not “Intellectual Property Rights Act”. It is LAW, not ACT. The ACT becomes LAW once a bill is signed by the president. But you wouldn’t know that.

I didn’t know that either. Not because I am not a lawyer, but because Sassy, who is one, only wanted to be snide. In the process, she forgot all about short titles. But don’t take my word for it.  Let’s take a look at a few acts, I mean laws (from the ever-reliable Chan Robles law firm).

RA 9165, anyone?

AN ACT INSTITUTING THE COMPREHENSIVE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 2002, REPEALING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 1972, AS AMENDED, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Section 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known and cited as the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002."

Or RA 9160:

AN ACT DEFINING THE CRIME OF MONEY LAUNDERING, PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

SECTION 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the "Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001."

How about RA 8505?

AN ACT PROVIDING ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION FOR RAPE VICTIMS, ESTABLISHING FOR THE PURPOSE A RAPE CRISIS CENTER IN EVERY PROVINCE AND CITY, AUTHORIZING THE APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS THEREFOR,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

SECTION 1. Title. — This Act shall be known as the "Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998."

Do all laws, I mean acts, enjoin the public to call them, familiarly, as acts? Again, from the first few laws included in the Chan Robles virtual library (I chose the section on Criminal Law, just for the heck of it), the answer is obvious enough. No.

RA 8353, for example:

AN ACT EXPANDING THE DEFINITION OF THE CRIME OF RAPE, RECLASSIFYING THE SAME AS A CRIME AGAINST PERSONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ACT NO. 3815, AS AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE REVISED PENAL CODE,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as "The Anti-Rape Law of 1997."

As it turns out, the Intellectual Property Rights Law (Sassy’s version, which apparently is not known to those idiots in Congress who make the laws and those doddering men and women in robes who interpret them) is actually called the Intellectual Property Rights Code.

RA 8293:

AN ACT PRESCRIBING THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE
AND ESTABLISHING THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE,
PROVIDING FOR ITS POWERS AND FUNCTIONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

PART I
THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE

Section 1.Title. – This Act shall be known as the "Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines."

So, strictly speaking, Dean got the name wrong. But then so did Sassy, who, after all, is a lawyer. (And don’t you forget that, Dean!) But she didn’t stop there. She went on to declare a new legal principle: "The ACT becomes LAW once a bill is signed by the president."

After Dean posted one more time, Sassy cracked the whip, and banned him from her very (very) popular blog. On January 26, at 1:32 pm, after what could have been a disagreeable lunch (IRONY ALERT: I am, of course, being snide, just to see what it feels like), she wrote:

Dean, nice try in provoking me and trying to get me to write something with the thought of diverting attention to you.

Won’t work.

That’s your last comment in my blog.

I don’t know WHAT you are and I don’t care. You don’t deserve my time.

Frayed tried to conduct a reality check:

What I see here is a real pack mentality. The leader (Sassy) attacks, and everyone comes in for the kill. Someone comes in who you don’t agree with, and ban him from your blog (and he wasn’t even rude or abusive). Enough already. Happy & Sheila are sorting this out on their own, that’s enough for me.

But Sassy replied:

In the instant case [again, code for: I’m a lawyer, Dean, and don’t you or anyone else forget it], only Dean Bocobo got banned. Because he was abusive–the final straw in a long list of abusive comments here and in his blog in a desperate attempt to make a comeback into the blogging scene.

It isn’t for you to decide what is abusive or not; it isn’t your blog.

But did the comment in fact question Sassy’s prerogative to ban commenters from her blog? I don’t think so. It only raised — and only as a secondary point — the standards of abuse that could lead to a ban.  Was Dean, in fact, abusive? Only if raising tough questions is considered abuse. But what do I know? I think some laws can in fact be called acts.

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10 Comments

Filed under Readings in Media

10 responses to “Dean, Sassed

  1. Myls

    John,
    you wrote “What I see here is a real pack mentality.” The reality is (and I’m not saying you are wrong:), a majority of people read to have their views confirmed, not disabused. Like I wouldn’t read her blog on a regular basis, except to see other people’s point of views (opposite from mine). I read you because I believe you express views that are consistnent with mine and when aren’t I still learn. :). Myls

  2. DJB

    Hi John,

    It’s too bad the Komiks Kerfuffle didn’t blossom into a great discussion over plagiarism on the Web. Which was what it started out being. I still wish there could be a “star studded” thread on the topic because it truly is important. If you consider a phenomenon like Google Video for example, or the capabilities of BitTorrent, and the truly interesting debates ongoing about this topic, you will see why I am disappointed Sassy reacted in that way. Actually if you dig deeper, you will discover we had an earlier run-in with respect to the Greenpeace attack on the Masinloc Power Plant and the crash of the Rainbow Warrior in the Tubbataha reefs, on which of course I took the neoconservative stance they love to hate over at the “pack” (your term not mine). It’s true you know, I have a way of taking over Comment threads that some people get nervous about, not realizing it actually helps their own blog to have a little opposition to the owner’s views. Before she cut me off, I didn’t have the opportunity to bring up the very interesting recent case in the US in which the caching of webpages by search engines was deemed LEGAL by the Courts and not an act of plagiarism per se. Yet think about how a trillion cached pages compares to the book published by PCIJ. Anyway, thanks for thinking this lil incident was worth posting on. I’m sure it’ll come up again because there is one thing for sure:

    ORIGINALITY is the coin of the blog realm. And unless your into blogging for the money, the true reward lies in finding yourself being “plagiarized” by others. And for the record, I love lawyers. They make some of the best English Composition around.

  3. Hi Myls. You’re right about the reading-for-confirmation bit; I think it works for newspapers and magazines too. But that was Frayed’s phrase, not mine : )

    Hi Dean. Yes, I know what you mean when you say you have a way of taking over a comment thread! But asking tough questions shouldn’t be considered as abuse, should it?

  4. Dean:

    I thought you had raised a good point there that could have moved the discussion even deeper. Had one then taken the baby step of looking at the broad issue of plagiarism and copyright infringement, then that person would have come up with the statement below: (one among those I quoted and collated in one blog entry)

    Derivative Work
    “Taking a copyrighted work and changing it creates something called a derivative work. Since you made changes to create the derivative work, you share the copyright for it with the copyright owner of the original work. Since you don’t own the entire copyright for the derivative work, you must still ask for permission before making copies of it. Because of this, taking someone else’s work and changing some of the words only creates a derivative work and does not give you full ownership of the copyright.”

    And this would have applied squarely with the comic book at issue. Screenshots from TV broadcasts or pictures with the balloons and text added.

  5. It’s amazing the level of popularity Sassy has been able to achieve for herself. And it’s quite disappointing (and dishearteaning) to see her react in such a seemingly close-minded way.

    Banning people from commenting when all they wanted was a bit of intelligent discourse? Sure it’s her blog, but why is she so unwilling to hear opposing views?

    (And no, I don’t follow her blog myself.)

  6. Wysgal, Dean, John, Amadeo:

    It all boils down to ego. =P

  7. DJB

    For the record, Connie Veneracion is a very nice person, I am sure. I never take anything personally in these blogs because there is every reason to suspect that we actually MISUNDERSTAND each other more than we think. Also for the record, I am a very nice person, I am told, so I hope we CAN get on with the impt conversations. I mean, my God, look what CARTOONS have done to Denmark and the world! We are so “archipelagic” in our thinking when there is so much to put coconuts together over, even when they have to bash against each other to make a sound.

    Regarding IPR Code, it’s sort of a daily read for us in book publishing and it is a great Law written by Roco. Needs lots of updating now with the Web and Google and its “photocopying” of every website everyday 24/7. Talk about plagiarism…

  8. That’s ok, guys. Remember, this is the INTERNET – New media, so they say. You’re all welcome to comment in my blog.

  9. I had a similar run-in recently with Connie V. She has been touting “River Cobbler” recipes on her pinoy cook blog about recipes she serves for her family. The thing I pointed out to her was the fact that “River Cobbler” is actually the Vietnamese Basa fish from the dirty polluted Mekong River. Real Cobbler is an eel-shaped fish from Australia that is consumed locally in Australia, mostly in Perth. “River Cobbler” is a name given to Basa fish by the Vietnamese fish importers and they’ve been marketing these fish throughout the world under many different names. I told her we had lots of information about the Basa fish from Vietnam on the website: http://www.catfishrestaurants.com

    Check out “Catfish Opinion Page” for my article about the encounter with Connie – article is called “Connie is Clueless about Cobbler.”

    She didn’t like what she heard and accused us of being wrong (when she’s the one that’s wrong….the evidence simply does NOT add up). She removed the link to my website from her blog and made some real stupid and immature remarks about American dying from obesity and added “LOL.” She accused me of spamming and trolling and said “Tsk Tsk.” She reminds me of my childhood days when kids made fun of other kids…..so childish and immature! I have a hard time believing she is a nice person!!!

    Becky

  10. I, too, made the mistake of contradicting Connie. Damn! Such a pity as my commentaries to her food blog was bringing in 2 to 3 visitors a day! Tee-hee-hee.

    Me thinks Speedy whipped. Or, just too nice.

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