3 Count: Too Big to Fail

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: Salinger sues over “Catcher in the Rye” sequel

First off today, author J.D. Salinger, who penned the famous book “Catcher in the Rye”, has filed suit against both the publisher and the author of an unofficial sequel to his novel entitled, “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye” written by someone under the name. “J.D. California”.

The suit seeks to block publication of the book, which was slated to be published later this year by Swedish publisher Nicotext.

Whether Salinger’s work, which was first published in 1951, is in the public domain or not will depend on whether its copyright was renewed, which seems very likely. If that is the case, copyright in the work should expire in 2046.

2: Microsoft’s Bing playing fast and loose with fair use?

Bing has been causing quite a stir these past few days but some of it appears to be a copyright controversy.

Bing, as part of its search engine shows previews, or thumbnails of videos that, when a user hovers their mouse over the image, the thumbnail both shows the video and, in some cases, plays the audio.

All-around great attorney and awesome person Denise Howell has asked whether this may be playing “fast and loose” with fair use as it takes the Perfect 10 ruling, which found that thumbnails of images were a fair use when used as part of search engines, and changes several of the factors to be less favorable toward Bing.

It’s a difficult question but she definitely has a point. We won’t know until someone takes the time to sue Microsoft over this. Which, if history is any indication, Perfect 10 is already drafting the papers (joke).

3: Cert Watch: Costco Wholesale Corporation v. Omega, S.A.

Finally today, we have a small dose of copyright fail, though I am not sure where to place the fail just yet.

Costco has found itself in a lawsuit filed by the manufacturers of a set of watches, Omega. The company manufactures watches overseas and, via authorized dealers, imports them into the U.S. Costco was able to take advantage of this to sell the watches at a lower price. Omega, unhappy with this, engraves its watches with a small emblem and, when Costco repeats the process, Omega sues for illegal importation of copyrighted goods.

This might seem to the copyright scholars to be a clear cut case of first sale, but that apparently doesn’t imply in this case as first sale only applies to works made within the U.S., at least according to the 9th Circuit. However, that creates a series of problems with copyright law, which Costco highlights in its reply.

The biggest is that it encourages companies to move manufacturing and the creation of copyrighted works overseas, and could be used to, theoretically, crush services such as Netflix by just moving DVD printing to another country.

So yeah, we have some copyright fail here, I’m just not sure on who’s part.


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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