Southeast Texas Record Apr. 26, 2016, 9:25am


If we ran an editorial on copyright infringement and that editorial subsequently appeared in another publication without our permission or without credit being given to the Southeast Texas Record, that would be grounds for a charge of copyright infringement or plagiarism.

Even if that second publication paraphrased our editorial before presenting it as their own, spinning the syntax to disguise the theft, it would still be a case of copyright infringement. The case would be harder to prove, but it could be proven, especially if there were a pattern of such misbehavior, i.e., multiple instances of plagiarism.

On the other hand, if we had given our permission for the editorial to be reprinted in full, or if the second publication merely cited it and gave the thrust of it or quoted bits of it (directly or indirectly) and gave credit to us, that would not be copyright infringement.

Of course, publications other than ours are free at any time to run their own editorials on copyright infringement. If and when they do, they're likely to make many of the same points we have – that's to be expected – and they're free to do so, in their own original ways. In fact, reading our editorial may be the very thing that inspires them to address the subject.

The mere fact that the Record has run an editorial on copyright infringement doesn't preclude anyone else from doing so. We don't own the copyright on copyright infringement editorials. No one does. There is no such thing.

Imagine if editors acted like patent trolls! We'd sue anyone who published anything remotely similar to anything we'd published. John Payne might think that’s the right thing to do.

Payne's the inventor who won an $85 million patent-infringement judgment against Google, thanks to a generous East Texas jury, only to have it overturned earlier this month by a federal appeals court, which concluded that “no reasonable jury could have found infringement.”

We doubt a reasonable inventor could have either.

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