3 Count: Architectural Plagiarism

Have any suggestions for the 3 Count? Let me know via Twitter @plagiarismtoday.

(Note: Due to the extended break, I’ve decided to just resume doing day-to-day updates rather than attempting to do a full recap. If you want the full details on what happened over the past two weeks, check out the latest Copyright 2.0 Show, which is available in video format now and will be available in MP3 format tomorrow.)

1: Report links Google, Yahoo to Internet piracy sites

First off today, Dawn Chmielewski at the Los Angeles Times reports that a study from the University of Southern California Annenberg Innovation Lab found that Google and Yahoo were among the biggest advertisers on pirate Websites.

The study used a bot to crawl sites that were listed in the Google Transparency Report as having received the most takedown requests. The crawler then identified the advertisers the sites used and found that Openx was the largest platform though Google, including Double Click, was second and Yahoo, including Right Media, was 6th.

The lab has said it will publish monthly updates to the report and the lab’s director, Jonathan Taplin, said that he hopes the study will goad advertisers into dropping such sites and, eventually, choke off a key source of revenue for such sites.

2: Judge to Rule on Batmobile Copyright Suit This Month

Next up today, Jonathan Welsh at the Wall Street Journal reports that Gotham Garage, a company that specializes in making and selling replicas of Batmobiles, may finally see a verdict in the case that pits it against DC Comics.

DC sued the company alleging copyright and trademark infringement in the creation of the cars. However, the garage says that automobiles can not be copyrighted, though DC claims that the cars have non-functional elements that can be protected. The judge previously refused to toss the lawsuit but both sides have filed for a summary judgment, which the judge is expected to rule on January 30th.

The case is unfolding as the original 1966 Batmobile from the TV series is scheduled to go up for auction in Arizona this month.

3: Plagiarism: If You Build It, They Will Come (and Copy It)

Finally today, Gillian Orr at The Independent reports that architect Dame Zaha Hadid may have had a recent creation of hers plagiarized and, even worse, the copy may finish before the original.

Hadid designed a Wangling Soho complex that consists of three “pebble-like constructions” that are designed to house an office and retail complex. However, a similar structure has begun in Chongqing and the copied version is being built at a much faster rate, meaning it may be completed first.

The law in China is unclear as there is no special provision for copyright protection of architectural works. However, if the matter did to go to court, most likely the only retribution would be a payment to Hadid’s firm rather than the building being demolished. However, Hadid seems uninterested in the copy, saying that if the new building contains some innovation it could be “quite exciting”.


That’s it for the three count today. We will 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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  1. Leave it to mainstream media to get it wrong…again. Google was right to call this mistaken.

    DoubleClick and OpenX aren’t ad networks…they’re ad serving platforms. Google doesn’t actually make any money off of DoubleClick unless you run one of their enterprise editions. Publishers just sign up for it, select the advertisers they want to use, the frequency, placement, etc. and that’s it. It’s not much of a platform, but pirates wouldn’t make money off of it directly either.

    • To be fair, all of that was from the report. I don’t run ads so I had no idea of any of this. The question though is how much control does Google/OpenX have over its customers in these cases? Can they be disconnected even if they aren’t paying money directly?

      • Just to clarify, the comment was about the LA Times reporting of things. MSM has a horrible track record at covering anything to do with the Internet…they’re just brutal. At least when you don’t know something, you come correct and admit it. I get that they’re not in the industry full time, but come on…all the information is right there on the DFP and OpenX sites if they bothered to look.

        in the case of DFP, I’d imagine that they could. Everything’s hosted straight off of Doubleclick. So if someone is doing something untoward, it could probably be reported and that would be the end of it. The only way in which Google would make money in that instance if if a pirate publisher went for an enterprise solution, which 1) I believe takes 30 million impressions per month to get to and 2) would put the pirate publisher right in Google’s crosshairs, which is exactly what they don’t want. I tried DFP for a few months and actually found that I lost control of certain tracking within Analytics, had it verified by a DFP rep at an Adsense in your City seminar in August, and haven’t gone back to it as a result.

        I haven’t played with OpenX, but I know of it. They’re more or less the same, except that a user can even download and host a self-managed version of OpenX called OpenX Source in addition to being able to choose from the free or paid platforms. Again, same rules would apply.