3 Count: Big Money

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: Thomas verdict: willful infringement, $1.92 million penalty

First off today, the news story that everyone is talking about, the ruling in the Jammie Thomas retrial was handed down yesterday and it was not pretty for Thomas. The jury found Thomas liable for the file sharing to the tune of $1.9 million or $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she is alleged to have shared.

Many will recall that it was not that long ago that Thomas lost a similar verdict, this one for a total of just $222,000 but, at her attorney’s encouragement, the verdict was thrown out and the trial considered a mistrial due to an error in jury instructions. This caused many to be surprised at the size of the new verdict, about 8.5 times the size of the previous verdict.

The general consensus is that the jury simply did not believe Thomas, felt that she lied on the stand, were angry at her and let it show in the ruling. It’s important to remember that a jury of 12 of her peers, including two college students, agreed unanimously on this ruling. However, it doesn’t seem likely that the record labels are going to collect on it as doing so would be a PR disaster. As such, they’ve expressed a willigness to settle and Thomas’ attorney, Kiwi Camara, who had previously been very aggressive about not wanting to settle, has indicated a willingness to at least consider it.

Thomas herself, however, appears to still want to fight.

2: Van Halen sue Nike for copyright infringement

Next up, as we enter the “Are you still reading this?” part of the column, the 80s rock band Van Halen is suing shoe company Nike for copyright infringement alleging that a recent shoe design the company has launched is a violation of Eddie Van Halen’s famous Frankenstrat guitar.

The guitar in question is a red guitar with white and black lines crossing it in erratic patterns, the shoe in question has a red trim with a similar color and, white and black lines cross ing it in erratic patterns.

Lawyers for Van Halen had no comment but Nike’s lawyers have said they don’t believe the shoe violates any rights.

3: US pushes India on copyright enforcement

Finally today, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke called for India to step up their protection of intellectual property within their country, citing that a great deal of progress has been made, especially in the area of customs enforcement, but that a great deal is yet to be done.

“US businesses need assurances that when they come to India, they’ll be operating in a secure and reliable environment for intellectual property,” Locke said.

Locke specifically cited a lackluster effort in criminal enforcement and piracy.


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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