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mscelina
06-23-2009, 10:02 PM
Here's another copyright case that has the potential to become high profile:

http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view/2009_06_23_Falmouth_woman_sues_Elisabeth_Hasselbec k_over_book/



A Falmouth woman isn’t taking a kind view toward “The View” star Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book on her recently diagnosed ailment.
Susan Hassett, a self-published author, is claiming in a federal lawsuit filed in Boston that the celebrity infringed on Hassett’s copyrights by publishing a book on celiac disease, titled “The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide,” last month.
In her suit, Hassett claims she sent Hasselbeck a copy of her own book, “Living With Celiac Disease,” in April 2008, along with a homemade cooking video, a personal note, a newspaper article and a business card.


It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I'm not sure Hassett has a case--maybe, if Hasselback somehow lifted sections of her book or research, but otherwise probably not.

Kitty Pryde
06-23-2009, 10:09 PM
TMZ has the letter she sent: http://www.aolcdn.com/tmz_documents/0623_hasselbeck_wm.pdf

Perusing it, there are a lot of resemblances (and more that aren't included in the letter), but it's hard for me to tell. But one smoking gun is both authors misspelled "aisles" as "isles", referring to the "outer isles of the supermarket". Hmm.

ETA: Never mind, the lawyer who wrote the letter spelled "aisles" wrong...

Millicent M'Lady
06-23-2009, 10:27 PM
That is so cheeky! Reading through the letter Kitty Pryde linked to, I am amazed how callous the similarites are. Despite the fact that there will always be similarities between anything like this which deals with a disorder (the facts about it will always remain the same after all), there are too many overlapping "coincidences" for this claim not to be taken seriously.

mscelina
06-23-2009, 10:36 PM
Wow. That does shed a different light on the case. The duplicated misspelling of aisles is pretty self-explanatory. If that's the case, this could be not only copyright infringement but downright plagiarism. The other examples cited are not so clear-cut, but that one?

Wow. Just wow.

Kitty Pryde
06-23-2009, 10:45 PM
Umm, scratch that...Hassett needs a cleverer lawyer! I just searched the amazon online version of Hasselbeck's books, and she correctly spelled "outer aisles". Head, meet desk.

Millicent M'Lady
06-23-2009, 10:54 PM
Umm, scratch that...Hassett needs a cleverer lawyer! I just searched the amazon online version of Hasselbeck's books, and she correctly spelled "outer aisles". Head, meet desk.

Or a less crooked one! How did he get that wrong?!

AngelicaRJackson
06-23-2009, 11:04 PM
I have gluten intolerance (along with some other food sensitivities) and have read nearly every book on the subject. It is indeed hard to come up with any "new" information, especially since many authors rely on information from the same celiac support/activist groups. As someone else said, the facts stay the same, and when the only treatment is dietary, it is extremely important to stay consistent. For example, I can't tell you how many times I come across spelt being recommended for celiacs, but it is not safe. This is an example of a mistake being perpetuated in other literature.

I once sold an article on Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, and had the editor call me to question some similarities between another magazine article, specifically how the gold discovery was portrayed. Luckily I used to be a docent at Marshall Gold, and I explained that the state park goes out of their way to present a consistent portrait of the moment, mostly because otherwise so many errors creep in (you'll see several dates cited, and sometimes John instead of James Marshall). It's not an absolute requirement that you present it the same way, but I chose to respect it.

mscelina
06-23-2009, 11:06 PM
Umm, scratch that...Hassett needs a cleverer lawyer! I just searched the amazon online version of Hasselbeck's books, and she correctly spelled "outer aisles". Head, meet desk.


Or a less crooked one! How did he get that wrong?!

No one ever said lawyers had to spell, I guess.

This'll be interesting to watch in the courts. The phrasing is still oddly similar, perhaps close enough that the allegations of plagiarism might stick.

caromora
06-23-2009, 11:20 PM
I looked through the examples listed and didn't really see any indication of infringement. Two books on a similar subject like this are going to contain similar material. The only thing that is slightly suspicious is the "Rome wasn't built in a day" thing...but there's no way you can claim plagiarism with such a commonly used phrased.

The most shocking thing about that letter was the horrible spelling and grammar.

ETA:


This'll be interesting to watch in the courts. The phrasing is still oddly similar, perhaps close enough that the allegations of plagiarism might stick.

It's pretty common advice. My doctor told me the same thing when I was diagnosed--shop the outer aisles. You can find it mentioned many places around the web where celiac disease is discussed. Frex: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenfreefoodshopping/a/GroceryStore.htm

In fact, I'm pretty sure at least one other book I have on the subject mentions the same thing in a similar way. Maybe THAT author can sue.

benbradley
06-23-2009, 11:31 PM
Here's another copyright case that has the potential to become high profile:

http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view/2009_06_23_Falmouth_woman_sues_Elisabeth_Hasselbec k_over_book/


In her suit, Hassett claims she sent Hasselbeck a copy of her own book, “Living With Celiac Disease,” in April 2008, along with a homemade cooking video, a personal note, a newspaper article and a business card.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I'm not sure Hassett has a case--maybe, if Hasselback somehow lifted sections of her book or research, but otherwise probably not.
If she has a Return Receipt or some similar evidence for the mailing that would help a lot, though I thing the "isles" thing is just precious... Hasselbeck's book was PUBLISHED with that spelling?

Reading the link Kitty Pryde posted, I see it was sent by Certified Mail, and yes, the similarities (such as same-numbered chapters being on the same topics - duh!) are uncanny.
"In the outer isles of the supermarket..." (SIC - exact phrase appears in both books). Okay, I can easily see such a homonym showing up in a self-published book, but a professionally edited/published book by a "big name" on this "The View" TV program?

Okay, looking:
http://www.amazon.com/G-Free-Diet-Gluten-Free-Survival-Guide/dp/1599951886
The publisher is "Center Street" - who is that? It's a Time-Warner imprint, a big-name publisher:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/publishing_center-street.aspx
http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA444952.html
Someone there should be hugely embarrassed by that "isles" thing.

ChristineR
06-23-2009, 11:33 PM
None of the actual writing (except the cliche "Rome wasn't built in a day") match in the two samples, and all of the advice would be readily available in any of the many books about living with celiac disease. Neither one of them came up with the ideas on their own, so I don't see any basis for a suit. Probably Hasselback read many similar books and distilled down what she thought was the best advice (and probably presented an outline to a ghost writer as well).

Kitty Pryde
06-23-2009, 11:35 PM
If she has a Return Receipt or some similar evidence for the mailing that would help a lot, though I thing the "isles" thing is just precious... Hasselbeck's book was PUBLISHED with that spelling?

Reading the link Kitty Pryde posted, I see it was sent by Certified Mail, and yes, the similarities (such as same-numbered chapters being on the same topics - duh!) are uncanny.
"In the outer isles of the supermarket..." (SIC - exact phrase appears in both books). Okay, I can easily see such a homonym showing up in a self-published book, but a professionally edited/published book by a "big name" on this "The View" TV program?




Nooooo, the lawyer spelled it wrong in his letter. I checked and it's actually spelled "aisles" in the Hasselbeck book...

jclarkdawe
06-23-2009, 11:38 PM
When I was writing EQUINE LIABILITY, I looked at all of the cases involved, but beyond the primary materials, I looked at every book and article that had been published on the subject.

Amazingly enough, we all came to the same legal conclusions about the cases. Then again, we all had the same basic training and the same basic information. I wonder if that's why.

Because there isn't that much on the subject out there, we all managed to stay separate and distinct, but you find a subject with enough books out there, and they get to read the same. I can't read books on horse training anymore because there is nothing new under the sun, and they all read the same to me now.

My guess is the same thing happened here.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

ChristineR
06-23-2009, 11:39 PM
If she has a Return Receipt or some similar evidence for the mailing that would help a lot, though I thing the "isles" thing is just precious... Hasselbeck's book was PUBLISHED with that spelling?

Reading the link Kitty Pryde posted, I see it was sent by Certified Mail, and yes, the similarities (such as same-numbered chapters being on the same topics - duh!) are uncanny.
"In the outer isles of the supermarket..." (SIC - exact phrase appears in both books). Okay, I can easily see such a homonym showing up in a self-published book, but a professionally edited/published book by a "big name" on this "The View" TV program?

Okay, looking:
http://www.amazon.com/G-Free-Diet-Gluten-Free-Survival-Guide/dp/1599951886
The publisher is "Center Street" - who is that? It's a Time-Warner imprint, a big-name publisher:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/publishing_center-street.aspx
http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA444952.html
Someone there should be hugely embarrassed by that "isles" thing.


The chapters are not the same. Going down the comparison list I see:

1/2
2/3
3/3
4/7
5/12

Chapters three are "My Symptoms" and "Conditions Associated with and Complicated by Celiac Disease." Hasset's chapter two is "The Symptoms of Celiac Disease" which corresponds to Hasselback's chapter three. There apparently isn't correspondence for "My Symptoms" in Hasselback's book.

It's also a classic vanity press mistake--writing a whole chapter about yourself because you assume people want to get to know you better.

Roger J Carlson
06-23-2009, 11:46 PM
It's pretty common advice. My doctor told me the same thing when I was diagnosed--shop the outer aisles. You can find it mentioned many places around the web where celiac disease is discussed. Frex: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenfreefoodshopping/a/GroceryStore.htm

In fact, I'm pretty sure at least one other book I have on the subject mentions the same thing in a similar way. Maybe THAT author can sue.The article you posted also says:

Remember that “organic” and “wheat free” do not mean gluten-free.

That was another "suspicious" phrase.

blacbird
06-24-2009, 12:31 AM
Let's keep in mind that "plagiarism" isn't identical to "copyright infringement". What's being alleged in this lawsuit smacks to me more of the former than of the latter.

caw

Eric San Juan
06-24-2009, 05:18 PM
Scènes à faire (which is very much the sense I got from the recent infringement complaint we discussed over in Basic Writing).

Kathleen42
06-24-2009, 06:14 PM
It's pretty common advice. My doctor told me the same thing when I was diagnosed--shop the outer aisles. You can find it mentioned many places around the web where celiac disease is discussed. Frex: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenfreefoodshopping/a/GroceryStore.htm


It's actually pretty common advice in any sort of healthy living (and/or diet) arena as well.