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Fighting over WordsLanguage and Civil Law Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328837.001.0001

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A Book Is Turned into a Pamphlet

A Book Is Turned into a Pamphlet

St. Martin's Press and Robert Sikorsky v. Vickers Petroleum Corporation

Chapter:
(p.133) CHAPTER 12 A Book Is Turned into a Pamphlet
Source:
Fighting over Words
Author(s):

Roger W. Shuy (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328837.003.0013

A 111-page book about how to increase gas mileage in cars was the alleged source of a one-page promotional piece widely distributed by an oil company. The author and publisher of the book brought a copyright infringement suit against the oil company, which in turn countered that the parts it borrowed fell under the copyright fair use doctrine. The author and publisher invoked the legal concepts of proportionality, substantial similarity, and originality. All of the fifty-five “tips” in the defendant's piece were the same as those in the book, effective measures of proportionality and originality. Substantial similarity also was found in the pamphlet's speech acts, speech act sequencing, lexical borrowing, minor changes in grammar such as plural for singular nouns, verb tense, ratios, topics, and topic sequencing.

Keywords:   copyright infringement, fair use doctrine, proportionality, substantial similarity, originality, speech acts, speech act sequencing, lexical borrowing, grammar, topics, topic sequencing

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