Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Sunday, August 24, 2008

# 34. They copy things

The sincerest form of flattery

After years of waiting, someone has finally copied my work. They have used a nom de plume. Being copied even by a fictitious entity does not take away that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that someone likes my work as much as I do, maybe more.

Last month, I wrote an article about a law firm being blessed by the Pope (see Reason No. 25 They are blessed). It was accepted by a legal magazine for publication on-line. When I did not hear from them I found that they had taken lines, which we clearly both thought funny, from my article and used in their own piece as if they were their original work.

Moral Rights or as we the plagiarized call it “Moral, I know my, Rights” provides for a right to be named if your work is copied and to control the form of the work but there are exceptions. Also, there is “reverse passing off”, which covers plagiarism.

The Editor would not explain, apologize or print the article in full but did take down the offending web page. She offered a mention of my site in a “regular blog spot” a sort of “plagiarize one, get one free” offer.

It may be understandable that Editors do not readily apologize just as Captains often do not go down with their ships.

Like many potential litigants, I hoped that there might be a copyright lawyer out there, even a fictitious one, who would share my angst and take my case as a matter of principle i.e. for free.

However, as a copyright lawyer myself, I realized that was just not going to happen. So, it is left to me to do what any red blooded copyright lawyer would do, write an article and then advise myself as to the next step.