Scientific plagiarism and punishable plagiarism – de lege lata considerations from the perspective of the constitutional requirement of specific features of the type of a prohibited act
Scientific work, as a “form of expression” of a scientific finding, is the result of a crea- tive, but relatively standardized work of the scientist. This “form of expression” is pro- tected under copyright law. Nevertheless, in the scientific community it happens that this is used not in accordance with the principle of fire use, i.e. fair borrowing. On this basis, the phenomenon of scientific plagiarism is born. However, there is a serious diffi- culty in distinguishing between these scientific plagiarisms, which can be understood as scientific misconduct (scientific fraud), from punishable ones under Art. 115 paragraph 1 of the Act on copyright and related rights. Not all scientific plagiarism is punishable plagiarism under this Article. Nevertheless, the current formula of the statutory hall- marks of this act is so elastic that it becomes a problem to distinguish the protected ele- ments of a scientific work from those elements which are not protected from the point of view of copyright as well as criminal law. In turn, such a state of affairs may contribute to the weakening of the principle of nullum crimen sine lege certa and stricta, and thus to interference with the freedom of scientific activity under Art. 73 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland.