Plagio di lettera da parte di un breve saggio: “The Kindest” in Larson v. Dorland Perry

La corte del Massachussets 14.09.2023 n. Case 1:19-cv-10203-IT, larson v. Dorland Perry, (segnalato e linkato dal prof. Edward Lee su X ).

Qui la peculiarità fattuale è che il lavoro plagiario si è evoluto in tre versioni, sempre più lontane dal lavoro originale.

Sulla substantial similarity : <<“Substantial similarity is an elusive concept, not subject to precise definition.” Concrete Mach. Co. v. Classic Lawn Ornaments, Inc., 843 F.2d 600, 606 (1st Cir. 1988). The inquiry is a “sliding scale”: If there are many ways to express a particular idea, then the burden of proof on  the plaintiff to show substantial similarity is lighter. Id. at 606-07. Here, there are many ways to write a letter, even one dealing specifically with kidney donations. Larson Mem. SJ, Ex. 8 [Doc. No. 189-8] (examples of sample letters from organ donors/family members of organ donors to recipients); Id., Ex. 1 ¶ 7 (Larson Aff.) [Doc. No. 189-1]>>.

Sulle parti non originali:

<<However, “[n]o infringement claim lies if the similarity between two works rests necessarily on non-copyrightable aspects of the original—for example, ‘the underlying ideas, or expressions that are not original with the plaintiff.’” TMTV, Corp. v. Mass. Prods., Inc., 645 F.3d 464, 470 (1st Cir. 2011) (internal citation omitted). “[I]t is only when ‘the points of dissimilarity not only exceed the points of similarity, but indicate that the remaining points of similarity are (within the context of plaintiff’s work) of minimal importance either quantitatively or qualitatively, [that] no infringement results.’” Segrets, Inc., 207 F.3d at 66. “‘The test is whether the accused work is so similar to the plaintiff’s work that an ordinary reasonable person would conclude that the defendant unlawfully appropriated the plaintiff’s protectible expression by taking material of substance and value.’” Id. at 62. “While summary judgment for a plaintiff on these issues is unusual,” it may be warranted based on the factual record. Id.; accord T-Peg, Inc. v. Vt. Timber Works, Inc., 459 F.3d 97, 112 (1st Cir. 2006)>>.

Sui dati fattuali sostenenti il giudizio di accertato plagio nella prima versione:

<<The 2016 Brilliance Audio Letter.8 As Larson concedes, the undisputed evidence mandates a conclusion that the 2016 Letter is substantially similar to the Dorland Letter. The Dorland Letter is approximately 381 words long, Dorland Mem. SJ, Ex. C [Doc. No. 181-3]; of those 381 words, the 2016 Letter copies verbatim approximately 100, and closely paraphrases approximately 50 more, Larson Mem. SJ, Appendix I [Doc. No. 193-1]. Many of these verbatim or near-verbatim lines gave the Dorland Letter its particular character, including: “My gift…trails no strings”; “I [focused/channeled] [a majority of] my [mental] energ[y/ies] into imagining and celebrating you”; “I accept any level of involvement,…even if it is none”; “To me the suffering of strangers is just as real”; and “I [wasn’t given/didn’t have] the opportunity to form secure attachments with my family of origin.” Id. The 2016 Letter also follows an identical structure to the Dorland Letter: a paragraph introducing the donor, including information on race, age, and gender; a paragraph explaining how the donor discovered the need for kidney donation; a paragraph explaining the donor’s traumatic childhood; a paragraph expressing the donor’s focus on the future recipient; a paragraph wishing the recipient health and happiness; and a concluding paragraph expressing a desire to meet. Id. Based on the documents before the court, the 2016 Letter took “material of substance and value” from the Dorland Letter in such a quantity and in such a manner that the points of similarity outweigh the points of dissimilarity. See Segrets, Inc., 207 F.3d at 62, 66.>>

Con analitico esame ravvisa comunque fair use.

Il giudice esclude tortiuous interference nelle continue dichiaraizoni dell’asserito plagiato verso le contriopati contrattiuali dell’asserito plagiante

Esclude anche che ricorra diffamazione.