LIMA -- Acclaimed Peruvian novelist Alfredo Bryce Echenique plagiarized 15 articles from other authors, Peru's copyright-protection agency, Indecopi, found.
An agency official told Efe that the writer was fined the equivalent of $57,258.
He also said that plagiary is considered a criminal offense punishable by up to eight years in prison.
Indecopi said in a communique that the writer "infringed the moral right of authorship in the mode of plagiary."
"The investigation found the plagiary of 15 authors out of a total of 16 articles published in different media, both domestic and foreign," it said.
The plagiarized texts, according to Indecopi, were published between 1986 and 2006 in the Spanish daily La Vanguardia, in the Periodico de Extramadura and in the Spanish-Mexican magazine Jano, and subsequently appeared in Peruvian media under Bryce Echenique's name.
"During the investigation, Bryce Echenique through his lawyer argued in his defense that the articles had not been published in Peru and consequently protection under national regulations did not apply. He also said that they had been published without his authorization and therefore denied that he was their author," the communique said.
Indecopi, however, "rejected his claim because several texts of the accused had been published in domestic media, meaning that there were infractions committed in Peruvian territory."
It also observed that the plagiarized texts "were widely distributed since they were published in mass media and available to readers on a number of Web sites."
Indecopi said that the author of "Un Mundo para Julius" (A World for Julius) and "La Vida Exagerada de Martin Romana" (The Exaggerated Life of Martin Romana) can appeal the finding.
It also recalled that Bryce Echenique had been previously denounced for suspected plagiary by Peruvian writer Herbert Morote, but in that case he was not sanctioned "because sufficient proof was not found to support the supposed infraction."
The Lima daily Peru.21 found in 2007 a total of 27 cases of suspected plagiary committed by Bryce Echenique.
The winner of the 2002 Planeta prize for his novel "El Huerto de Mi Amada" (My Love's Orchard) attributed these accusations to a press campaign "full of hate" meant to smear the reputation of writers who spoke out against the 1990-2000 government of President Alberto Fujimori, currently on trial for massacres committed under his rule.