Above the Law reports on the case of Denison v. Larkin (N.D. Ill. Aug. 13, 2014), in which Illinois attorney Joanne Denison sued the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission on the grounds that the Commission’s use of excerpts from Denison’s own blog as evidence against her in a disciplinary proceeding constituted copyright infringement. As numerous legal scholars and commentators have noted, the use of a party’s copyrighted materials as evidence against that party in a legal proceeding has long been considered a non-infringing fair use by the courts. Professor Nimmer went so far as to characterize attempts by parties to block the introduction of evidence on the basis of copyright infringement as being among “weakest infringement claims of all time,” and wrote that “[i]t seems inconceivable that any court would hold such reproduction to constitute infringement either by the government or by the individual parties responsible for offering the work in evidence.” It was therefore unsurprising that the Court rejected Denison’s infringement claims on the basis of fair use, and granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss. What is surprising is the fact that, in the face of a long and essentially unbroken string of rulings against such claims, copyright holders nonetheless keep trying. Read the full article here, and the Court’s opinion here.
Reposted from Above the Law.