3 Count: Fair-y Tale

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: Judge nixes fair use defense in Tennenbaum filesharing case

First off today, the Joel Tenenbaum case has started but, hours before the opening gavel fell, the defense suffered a very large setback. The judge in the case barred the defense from raising a fair use argument in the case, essentially preventing them from using their main defensive strategy.

Tenenbaum is being sued by 5 record labels for allegedly sharing songs over various P2P networks. Tenenbaum does not deny that he shared music over those services, though not necessarily the songs in question, but had claimed that his sharing was fair use. The judge, however, has disagreed and barred the defense from even raising the issue to the jury.

But though the judge denied the defense to Tenenbaum, largely because the defense took an all or nothing approach to fair use and file sharing, she did say that there may be circumstances that could lend itself to fair use with file sharing, such as legally acquiring music downloaded and sharing only among friends, but that none of those issues were raised by Tenenbaum’s team.

These issues will have to be tested in a later trial it appears.

2: Photographer Sues ESPN for Copyright Infringement over Unauthorized Photo Use

Next up today, photographer Sherry Martin is suing both Competitor Magazine and ESPN over a the digital use of a photograph she took of triathlete Dr. David Martin (no relation) who died recently in a shark attack. Martin had taken the photograph some time ago for Opix Photography and, according to her suit, she retained digital rights to the work.

However, after Dr. Martin’s death, several outlets contacted both Martin and Opix about obtaining the digital rights to the image but, when negotiations broke down, Opix allegedly sold the rights to Competitor for $50, which is viewed as below market value, and Competitor, in turn, gave the image to ESPN.

Martin is suing both Competitor and ESPN, saying that they were aware she held the digital rights to the work and failed to negotiate with her. She is seeking unspecified damages.

3: Copyright in virtual worlds

Finally today, Maria Korolov has a very interesting piece on copyright in virtual worlds, such as Second Life, and an interesting rundown of the challenges, both legal and technological, those who wish to sell in virtual worlds face. The article also includes some tips on mitigating against piracy as well as some business strategies that may help keep illegal copying to a minimum.

If you participate in virtual words, especially the buying and selling of virtual products, this post is a must-read.


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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