3 Count: Fairly Useful

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: Harvard prof tells judge that P2P filesharing is “fair use”

First off today, Harvard professor Charles Nesson, the attorney representing alleged file sharer Joel Tenenbaum, is back in the news. He has decided to continue with his theory that file sharing is fair use even though his colleagues, friends and even his own expert witnesses disagree with his decision to do so.

Nesson intends, at this time, to take his fair use argument to a jury and make arguments related to all of the four factors. However, most seem to think that this has a very low chance of success.

Fortunately for Nesson’s client though, he does have a backup plan, one where he challenges the damages that can be awarded in such such a case, saying that statutory damages, the bulk of most copyright awards, are only for “commercial” infringers. However, that strategy too has been called “bold” and doesn’t seem to jive with what is written into the law itself.

The trial is set to begin this summer.

2: Court turns away appeal over Steinbeck copyright

Next up today, The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the heirs of John Steinbeck, the author of “The Grapes of Wrath” saying that the copyrights to the work belongs to Penguin Publishing, despite a lower court ruling that awarded the rights back to the heirs.

The heirs, who currently receive royalties from the book, were obviously disappointed. Though, overall, it is a pretty ho-hum copyright contract dispute, it is rare for the Supreme Court to take up such cases and it is always news when SCOTUS rules on copyright-related matters.

3: The Official Unofficial Creative Commons Facebook Application

Finally today, the Creative Commons Organization has launched is “official unofficial” Facebook application. The app lets users add a Creative Commons badge to their profiles and license their Facebook content under the license of their choosing.

The application does have one drawback, in addition to being considered a “beta” release, you can only choose to license your content on the basis of content type (namely photos, videos and text) and not on a per-work basis, as with Flickr or other sites. That, according to the app’s creator, would require Facebook integrating CC into its photo service.

Still, if you are a Facebook user and make use Creative Commons, go install the app today!


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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