3 Count: Last Plagiarism

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: Last.fm’s User Data is Useless to the RIAA

First off today, over the past few days, something of a storm has developed over Last.FM allegedly surrendering data to the RIAA. Originally, when the scandal first broke, Last.FM denied the allegations. However, new information seems to have surfaced alleging that, while Last.FM did not turn over the data, it is possible their parent company, CBS, did.

This data, which includes information about users and what they listened to has many worried about the implications as part of an RIAA legal campaign. However, as Torrentfreak points out correctly, the data would not be very useful as evidence due to the fact that it is based on ID3 tags in MP3s, something that can be easily changed or faked.

Furthermore, the RIAA has no way of determining which tracks were pirated vs. which were legitimately purchased from the data, save with prerelease tracks, making it impossible for them to build much in the way of evidence against anyone.

It may be a privacy violation, but in as far as copyright evidence goes, it does appear to be much ado about nothing.

2: The Conference Board of Canada’s Deceptive, Plagiarized Digital Economy Report

When it comes to Copyright Fail, how do you improve upon a organization researching copyright plagiarzing part of its report? Easy. Have a supposedly non-partisan, non-lobbyist group plagiarizing from the primary IP lobbying group in the U.S.

That’s exactly what Michael Geist seems to have found in the the recent report on intellectual property in the digital age. Geist found many examples of passages being lifted from various lobbying groups, often without any attribution. In his report, linked above, he lists several passages that are either identical or virtually identical to previously published studies from copyright lobbying groups, even though many of the claims were not adequately backed up.

The study was funded by various copyright lobbying groups and is expected to be used in further lobbying efforts as well as generating public attention, something the study has already done.

3: Beginning signs of the registration backlog in the courts?

Finally today, last week we reported on the recent backlog at the U.S. Copyright Office, well, we’re also seeing the first problems caused by that in the courts.

The case of Specific Software Solutions, LLC v. Institute of Workcomp Advisors, LLC has taken an odd, but not unexpected, turn as the copyright claims by Workcomp Advisors have been thrown out on jurisdictional grounds to the fact that, though a copyright registration had been filed, it had not yet been reviewed nor had the certificate been received.

As a result, the judge ruled that, without the registration or the refusal, there was no choice but to toss out that element based on jurisdictional grounds.

Obviously, IWA can refile once they get their registration, but it remains to be seen if they will.

One side note worth pointing out is that the judge in the case omitted when the registration was filed, so we do not know if it was filed a few months ago or over a year ago. The author of the post speculates that the omission was deliberate to reduce the chances of it being overturned on appeal.


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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