Copyright Suit Against Google Ripped Off Another Suit's Wording

from the second-level-copying dept

The latest in a long string of copyright suits against Google came yesterday when Grateful Dead mandolin player David Grisman claimed damages from certain clips of him performing that appeared on YouTube. Apart from the irony of a Grateful Dead member complaining about fans sharing his clips, it seems that the language in the initial complaint was lifted word for word from another suit against Google on a similar subject. The firm that wrote the initial complaint is not amused, although these things aren't copyrighted, so there doesn't appear to be any legal problem here. As law professor Stephen Bainbridge points out, the real issue here is ethics. Lawyers typically charge their clients by the hour, but if they're just cutting and pasting, then they're probably not putting in as many hours as they claim. Of course, if basic tasks can be done by cut and paste, it would seem to undermine the need for such high barriers to entry into the legal profession. Update: As a number of commenters have pointed out, David Grisman may have played music with the Grateful Dead, but was not actually a full-fledged member of the band.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Richard Dunham, May 17th, 2007 @ 11:25am

    not a Grateful Dead member

    That would be ironic, if David Grisman was a Grateful Dead member. But he's not. He did tour with Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead's lead guitarist, but he was not a member of the band. The original article describes him as a player "who once performed with the Grateful Dead," which I'm not even sure is true. But even if he sat in on a few shows, that does not make him a member. The Beach Boys once performed with the Grateful Dead, but that doesn't mean that it would be ironic for the Beach Boys to lodge copyright complaints.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous of Course, May 17th, 2007 @ 11:55am

    Copyright

    I believe that according to the Berne Convention
    the work is under copyright from the moment
    of creation. You can take further steps to help
    secure your rights but that's not necessary.

    It's unlikely but lawyers feeding on lawyers
    would be fun to watch.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Max, May 17th, 2007 @ 11:56am

    Re: not a Grateful Dead member

    Grisman was not an "official" member of the Grateful Dead anymore than Bruce Hornsby was. Both played with the band and toured with them but were not considered part of the band.

    The real irony is that the Dead approved of and supported the recording and free distribution of their concerts and even set up recording areas for those who wanted to at each concert.

     

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  4.  
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    GoblinJuice, May 17th, 2007 @ 12:39pm

    wtf?

    Yeah, okay, The Dead was before my generation and, er... yeah, I totally don't get them. Gotta be high as hell to enjoy their music, I guess. Anyway!

    I've always understood that The Dead don't give a rat's ass if people post/trade/whatever recordings of live performances - so long as they aren't sold.

    So, basically, we've got one dick who did some stuff with them and he's... what? What in the hell does he hope to get out of this?

    You're a friggin' nobody. Be happy people are listening to your music.

    The "I haven't really done anything with my life, but... maybe... if I sue the right company... I'll get rich!!!" style of thinking is disgusting.

    JESUS!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2007 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Copyright

    Court Pleadings are probably considered public domain, much like court opinions are.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Richard Dunham, May 17th, 2007 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: not a Grateful Dead member

    Sorry to nitpick. Bruce Hornsby toured with the Dead, but David Grisman did not. David Grisman toured with Jerry Garcia, and they performed as a duet. I'm not sure David Grisman was ever on stage with the full Grateful Dead.

    To your point, there were taper sections at the Garcia/Grisman shows, so I agree it is ironic.

    I just wish Techdirt was at least as accurate as the articles it cited.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    pesti, May 17th, 2007 @ 1:37pm

    "I just wish Techdirt was at least as accurate as the articles it cited.".......

    I think the issue here was in regards to the "Word for word"
    complaint....someone always has to bitch....

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    PhysicsGuy, May 17th, 2007 @ 2:38pm

    Re: wtf?

    "You're a friggin' nobody. Be happy people are listening to your music."

    lol.. that's one of the funniest comments from an actual nobody that i've heard all day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    PhysicsGuy, May 17th, 2007 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: not a Grateful Dead member

    I know Grisman played mandolin on Ripple for their recording. I'm not sure if he actually ever toured with them, but knowing them, there's a VERY good chance Grisman at least played on stage with the grateful dead.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, May 17th, 2007 @ 3:58pm

    Defence of lawyers

    Two defences of the cut and paste job:
    1. law works on precedents and lawyers copy what has worked in the past.
    2. the skill a lawyer brings to the job consists of knowing what to copy.

    Of course, if the lawyer is charging for time not actually spent then that's just plain old go to jail fraud.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Sal, May 17th, 2007 @ 7:49pm

    How Ironic

    Considering that the Grateful Dead used to encourage their fans to bring tape recorders to their concerts and share recordings, I find this highly ironic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Fred Flint, May 18th, 2007 @ 8:11am

    "...the real issue here is ethics..."

    That's hilarious. We are talking about lawyers here, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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