3 Count: I Dowd It…

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: Citing $130K in legal bills, Jammie Thomas lawyer withdraws

First off today, Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s attorney, Brian Toder, has filed a motion asking to withdraw from the case. He is citing over $130,000 in unpaid legal fees and the likelihood of many more as the retrial draws close. Thomas-Rasset has filed a separate motion that does not object to the withdrawal and the RIAA has filed a similar one.

This is not the first time Toder has filed such a motion. The first time was right before the first trial but, at that point, the judge did not allow the withdrawal saying that Thomas-Rasset was making payments to Toder and that communication had not broken down. However, it seems more likely that the judge will grant this request.

This may result in the retrial being delayed but the RIAA has filed an objection to any delay from the June start date. This is fairly unusual as a continuance is fairly customary in cases where an attorney has withdrawn from a case right before a trial was to begin.

2: A9 wins summary judgment motion on contributory infringement claim; entitled to DMCA 512(c) safe harbor

Next up, famous copyright litigant Perfect 10 lost again in the courtroom, this time against Amazon subsidiary A9. This case centered around a DMCA notice filed by Perfect 10 against A9 that did not result in the removal of the content because, rather than filing with A9 itself, Perfect 10 filed with its parent company, Amazon.

The judge ruled in favor of A9 in this case saying that filing the notice with Amazon did not result in A9 having actual knowledge of the infringement and, thus, losing their safe harbor protections. This could have a great deal of impact on those who file DMCA notices as it means they should be more careful about who they file their notices with, especially in cases when you have one company being owned by another.

Perhaps more disturbing for DMCA filers though is that the judge ruled that the lack of registration or an outdated registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is not grounds for losing safe harbor and that it is, in fact, inconsequential. This is something that is actually written into the law so it is a bit puzzling how the judge reached this conclusion, but nonetheless it stands at the moment.

However, in this case the latter point isn’t terribly important since the USCO filing was, despite Perfect 10’s claim, valid and accurate.

3: NYTimes columnist admits using blogger’s words

Finally today, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has been accused and has admitted to plagiarizing a paragraph from Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall. Dowd, however, claims that she did not read the blog post in question but instead, got the idea from a friend and she included it in her column.

Most people are treating Dowd’s story with a great deal of skepticism.

While this is not terribly uncommon in recent months and years, perhaps a sad testament to modern journalism, what makes Dowd’s case somewhat unique is she is famous in large part for exposing and repeatedly attacking Joe Biden’s alleged plagiarism in 1987 as part of run up to the 1988 election.


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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