Monday, July 30, 2018

Issue of plagiarizing a Facebook post

Boston-based Sonya Larson wrote a story “The Kindest” about kidney donation. Los Angeles writer Dawn Dorland, who lived in Boston until 2011, made a kidney donation, and posted on Facebook about it. Larson was a member of a private Facebook group to which Dorland posted updates for friends and family about her donation process. Dorland believes some of "The Kindest" is copied from Dorland's Facebook posts.

From the Boston Globe:

Dorland said that some lawyers told her that the story might constitute an infringement of intellectual property law.

But lawyers consulted by the Globe say that while there appear to be strong similarities between the Facebook post and the note in the story, Dorland’s case could be a difficult one to win.

According to Joseph Liu, a professor at Boston College Law School, Larson could mount two defenses: de minimis, or the idea that the extent of the copying is minimal so not worthy of punishment; and fair use, a doctrine of copyright law that allows for materials to be copied on a limited basis without permission from the original owner for certain educational or artistic purposes.



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