3 Count: Dueling Plagiarists

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: Ouch! German Court Slams Rapidshare With $34 Million Fine

First off today, file hosting site Rapidshare, received a very painful judgment today as a court in its native Germany ordered it to pay €24 million ($34 million) in damages for its enabling of file sharing of some 5000 music tracks in GEMA’s catalog. GEMA is a copyright protection association that represents composers, lyricists, music publishers within the country.

The ruling now also requires Rapidshare to take down all copies of these works and to prevent copies of the works from being made available in the future. However, that will pose a very large technical challenge due to the nature of the site and the fact files are uploaded in many different formats.

This ruling was made possible due to a lack of safe harbor protection in Germany, which allows hosts to be held liable when a user infringes copyright through their service, even if they remove the specific files that are alleged to be infringing.

2: Record biz tries suing Irish ISPs into submission

Next up today, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) filed lawsuits against two of Ireland’s largest ISPs in a bid to get them to disconnect alleged file sharers under a “three strikes” style regime.

This worked earlier with the ISP Eircom but the two latest subjects, BT Ireland and UPC Ireland, do not seem as interested in settling and have expressed a desire to actively fight these lawsuits.

Obviously, the laws in Ireland are a bit different than those in Germany but it remains to be seen what, if anything, will come of this lawsuit and what will happen to the Eircom arrangement should this one get tossed out.

3: Chris Anderson’s Free Contains Apparent Plagiarism and TV’s Hasselbeck accused of plagiarizing diet book

Finally today we have not one but two cases of accused plagiarism in the publishing world. The first involves Wired editor Chris Anderson, whose book “Free” is due out early next month and the second involved Elizabeth Hasselbeck and a lawsuit that has been filed against her over her new cookbook.

In the Anderson case, Waldo Jaquith at the Virginia Quarterly Review found what he called a series of about a dozen plagiarized passages lifted from a variety of sources but primarily Wikipedia. Anderson responded to the claims saying that the problem was caused by the publisher “lost the footnotes at the 11th hour” before publication and that the error would be fixed through the use of online footnotes.

Many remain very skeptical of this explanation.

Hasselbeck, on the other hand, is being sued by Susan Hassett, the author of a self-published book “Living with Celiac Disease” that she claims to have sent to Hasselbeck to encourage her to promote awareness of the condition. According to Hassett, Hasselbeck’s new book, “The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide,” borrows heavily from her work including, “Dozens of paraphrased as well as word-for-word regurgitations of phrases and scrupulously researched factual data entries.”

Celiac Disease, an condition both Hasset and Hasselbeck have, causes the body to be intolerant of glutens, thus requiring a modified diet. Hassett is also suing Hasselbeck’s publisher, Center Street Hachette, and her ghost-writer seeking damages and to stop the book’s distribution.


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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