When Houston author Elaine Scott saw that the entire text from her book Stocks and bonds: profits and losses was freely available for download on the document sharing website Scribd, she was mortified at the overt copyright infringement at her expense. Not surprisingly, she took to the courts and filed a class action lawsuit against the website alleging that the site makes it too easy for users to upload copyrighted material that subsequently becomes freely available to the masses.
The case itself isn’t all that surprising, but the legal team defending Ms. Scott might strike some as an interesting choice. You see, Scott hired Camara & Sibley to plead her case, the same firm that currently represents Psystar in their litigation against Apple for alleged copyright abuse.
Kudos to Camara and Sibley for being champions of copyright holders and infringers all at the same time!
Adding another wrinkle is the fact that Camara and Sibley were also behind the legal defense of Jammie Thomas, who was sued by the RIAA and lost a judgment worth millions of dollars in court.
Now as for why the Scribd case is being positioned as a class-action, Ars Techinica writes:
Camara wants to extend the case to an entire class of authors; this fits with what he told Ars this summer, when he said that when his firm takes cases, “we want to fix a problem for a lot of people, including our client.”
I gather that Camara and Sibley are simply publicity hounds looking to take on any case that’s worthy of a headline, but I suppose that that’s not entirely unheard of in the legal profession. A lone lawsuit against Scribd flies under the radar – but a class action lawsuit that purports to represent any and every author.. now that’s a headline, baby!
Still, portions of the Scribd lawsuit should ring the bells of irony for anyone who has been following the Psystar litigation. An excerpt reads,
[Scribed] has “built a technology that’s broken barriers to copyright infringement on a global scale and in the process have also built one of the largest readerships in the world. The company shamelessly profits from the stolen copyrighted works of innumerable authors.”
You don’t say.