3 Count: Fair Storage

This is daily column on Plagiarism Today where the site brings you three of the days biggest, most important copyright and plagiarism news links. If you want to offer your feedback on the column, use the contact form or just follow me on Twitter at @plagiarismtoday.

1: Court flunks high schoolers’ appeal on plagiarism database

First off today, in a case that has been going on for two years, a Federal Appeals Court ruled that plagiarism detection service Turnitin’s storage of previously checked papers is a fair use, supporting a lower court’s ruling in the matter.

In 2007, students from a Virginia high school sued Turnitin, saying that the copyrights to their essays was being infringed by the product as it stored copies of their essays in a database for matching against future papers. Though students signed a contract permitting this, they were all minors at the time and the contract was signed under threat of failing the course.

The lower court sided with the makers of Turnitin on both the contract and the fair use arguments, however, the Appeals court only addressed the fair use one, finding that Turnitin’s use of the content was transformative, even though it used the whole of the content. The court did not rule on the contract issue.

2: Lawsuit won’t keep ‘New Moon’ from rising

A recent lawsuit filed against “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer has been attracting a great deal of attention in the literary world today. Meyer is being sued by a former college friend and roommate, who claims to have created the concept for the popular series.

Though initial reports stated that the lawsuit had brought production of the second movie in the series, “New Moon”, to a halt, it appears that is not the case. The movie, which is based upon the book of the same name, is still currently slated for a Nov. 20th release.

Lawsuits such as this one are surprisingly common for popular works but rarely gain any traction. Still, without knowing the facts of the case, it is difficult to make any judgment.

3: Norway Makes it Easier to Go After File-Sharers

Finally today, in further news from Scandinavia, a decision from Norway’s Post and Telecommunications Regulator has paved the way for courts to demand personal information of subscribers from ISPs when the situation demands it.

Noway, previously, had very strict privacy rules that prevented copyright holders from going after file sharers. However, with this decision, the door is open for courts to decide when it is appropriate to force an ISP to give up their subscribers.

Though not the same as Sweden’s IPRED law, discussed previously, it seems that it will likely have many of the same results.


That’s it for the three count today, we’ll be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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