So, there's some stuff happening in blogland these days. A person named Amanda claiming an epublished author JJ Massa plagarized her work, Another Time, Another Place,
retitled the work and had it published...twice.
You can read side-by-side excerpts from both the fanfic piece by Amanda and the published book by Massa on This Blog
. If you check the comments, you'll find Amanda's comment a few down from the top.
I'm in no position to say (or even guess) who is the plagiarizer and who is the plagiarizee (probably not real words, but you get my drift). But I will say the excerpts are similar enough to convince me there's something shady going on. Either way, it's very sad that someone felt they needed to borrow another's work and pass it off as their own.
How will this end? We'll have to wait and see. Amanda claims she's taking the issue to court. And that may happen. But call me a cynic, I doubt anything will come of it. From what I can see, the work was fanfiction. It cannot be sold and therefore I can't see her suffering any financial damages. I'm no lawyer
, but from what I understand, if she did not file a copyright (highly unlikely, although not necessary), there are limits to what she can expect to receive, even if she wins a court case.
From the US Copyright site
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.
In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following:
- Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
- Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
- If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
- If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner. (boldface added by moi)
- Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies. For additional information, go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/import. Click on “Intellectual Property Rights.”
Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright. Unlike the law before 1978, when a work has been registered in unpublished form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published edition, if desired.
I'll be watching this, to see how it all works out.
Go Ahead, Share Your Thoughts! .