Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

Submitted by patentadmin on Wed, 10/07/2009 - 20:58

Doogie Howser is alive and well and practicing law in California. Kiwi Camara – I am not making this up – is representing author Elaine Scott in a copyright infringement suit against Scribd.com, a website that allows people to publish their writings online.

Apparently, someone posted a copy of Ms. Scott’s book on the Scribd website without her permission. At her request, Scribd removed her book from their website. Ms. Scott, however, was not satisfied, claiming Scribd had not done enough to prevent the unauthorized posting. She retained Mr. Camara to sue Scribd.

Mr. Camara, who graduated from Harvard Law School at age 19, first gained a measure of fame representing Ms. Jammie Thomas, the Minnesota woman ordered to pay $1.92M for illegally downloading 24 songs (see previous blog post, “The Cost Of Free Music”).

Mr. Camara was faced with a daunting legal problem – the courts have repeatedly held that websites are not legally responsible when users post stolen material. Not to worry; Scribd had filtering software to prevent stolen materials from being posted again. This filtering software retains a copy of all removed works. The clever Mr. Camara claimed that this copy, which was used only to protect Ms. Scott from having her work posted again, was a copyright violation.

Scribd takes the position that it made no commercial use of Ms. Scott’s work and has done nothing to diminish its value.

Given Mr. Camara’s previous success – he did keep Ms. Thomas out of the electric chair – we can’t wait to see how this case turns out.

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