3 Count: Catcher Interrupted

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: Capitol v. Jammie Thomas-Rasset: Day 3 Recap

First off today, yesterday was day 3 of the Jammie Thomas retrial and the last day of testimony. The “highlight” of the day was Thomas herself taking the stand, tearfully offering another new defense.

In this testimony Thomas, for the first time, admitted that Kazaa was on her computer but now says that it was either her ex boyfriend or one of her children that did the file sharing. There are several problems with that defense, including that the Kazaa username used was the same as her ISP name for several years, the computer was in her bedroom and only she had the administrator password.

However, the tearful testimony may be enough to sway at least some of the jurors, which could throw the case into her favor since a unanimous verdict is required. Today is closing arguments in the case and the trial should be in the hands of jurors by this afternoon.

(Note: According to Twitter, closing arguments wrapped up as I was typing this article.)

2: Temporary Restraining Order Issued in Salinger Case

Next up today, the “Catcher in the Rye” case has taken yet another twist as the judge in the case has issued a temporary restraining order barring publication of the book and hinted that she does not feel the fair use defense applies strongly to the case.

The case centers around Swedish author Fredrik Coltin who penned and was preparing to publish the book “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye”, an allged sequel of J.D. Salinger’s “Cather in the Rye”. Coltin had argued that the book was a parody and allowable under fair use but the judge, though not ruling on the fair use element, said that the commentary was “not perceptible at all”, leading many to believe she was going to rule against the fair use argument right then. Instead, she has decided to wait a few days before ruling.

This ruling is also historic because it is the first time in this district that a judge has ruled an individual character in a story, in t his case Holden Cauflield, is protected by copyright.

At the moment, I think it is safe to say that things do not look very good for Coltin in this case.

3: Harvard Study Finds Weaker Copyright Protection Has Benefited Society

Finally today, a new study released by Harvard Business School finds that weaker copyright protection primarily in the form of file sharing technologies, has had an overall benefit on society and have encouraged the production of new artistic works.

The reason for this, according to the researchers, is because file sharing has had neither a negative nor a positive effect on the sale of copyrighted goods, but have increased the sales of “complimentary goods” such as concerts, speaking tours, etc. that have been increased due to the wider exposure of copyrighted works over these networks.

How this study will be received is the big question, especially as major governments across the world work to further clamp down on file sharing and other forms of online copyright infringement.


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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