3 Count: Thomas Part Two

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: Second verse of file-sharing case takes on music copyrights

First off today, the Jammie Thomas retrial begins today. Thomas, who now goes by the last name Thomas-Rasset, was accused in 2006 of file sharing by the record labels and was the first case to reach a courtroom. Her trial became an instant spectacle and ended with her being ordered to pay $222,000 in damages.

That case, however, was thrown out due to a fault in the jury instructions and the retrial is beginning today.

For this occasion, Thomas has an all-new legal team and they are presenting an equally-new legal theory, that the copyrights to the music allegedly downloaded belong to the artists, not to the record labels. They are honing their attack on the copyright registrations for the works in question.

It will be an interesting spectacle a trial for which we will likely have many updates over the next week.

2: Virgin Media, Universal to offer unlimited music

Next up, in the UK, ISP Virgin is looking to deliver a 1-2 punch to piracy via a strategy that may actually have a shot at working.

The first punch is that they are announcing a new partnership with the world’s largest record label, Universal, to create an unlimited access plan for 10-15 pounds per month that would give would-be file sharers unlimited access to Universal’s music library. Hopefully, other record labels will sign on to make this even more appealing.

The second punch is that they are promising to disconnect file sharers that skip on the service and continue to download music illegally. However, these disconnections will not be permanent, but will only last a few minutes to a few hours, enough to annoy pirates but not outright cut them off.

This combination of “carrot and stick” seems to have the best likelihood of success and given the nature of the disconnections, they are unlikely to ruffle the feathers of too many activists. It seems like a solid win-win.

3: Bloomsbury faces Harry Potter copyright claim

Finally today, here we go again. Bloombury press, a UK publisher, is being sued by the estate of children’s author Adrian Jacobs for copyright infringement over JK Rowling’s 2000 book “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”.

According to the estate, Rowling’s book borrows heavily from Jacobs’ 1987 book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard-No 1 Livid Land. Though we don’t have much information about the alleged similarities at this time, this isn’t the first time that Rowliing has faced such accusations. The last time, the plaintiff was ordered to pay $50,000 and costs for making the claim after her case was tossed out.

This will be another case to follow but, simply playing the odds on these types of accusations, it doesn’t seem likely to go anywhere.


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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