A reader writes:
While I am no fan of Palin, or expert in copyright law, she might have a point about the leaked manuscripts.
It is probably not illegal in the criminal sense, but leaking the juicy bits of a major political figure's unpublished manuscript parallels quite closely with Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985). In that case, the Supreme Court held that The Nation's unauthorized copying of excerpts from President Ford's leaked memoirs was not fair use. The Court considered the impact on the market for Ford's book and The Nation's commercial purpose - it sought to exploit the leak as a "scoop" to sell magazines. Like Ford, she has the right to sell exclusive sneak-peeks to magazines like Time or the Atlantic, and surely those leaking the manuscript did so in part for scoop value.
The difference here might be that the leakers probably used less of the manuscript and added commentary (unlike the Nation, which printed full paragraphs of the book and sent to press before adding criticism). However, the courts do not look kindly on leaks, so I wouldn't be surprised if she at least has a colorable claim. This is especially so if any source "went beyond simply reporting uncopyrightable information and actively sought to exploit the headline value of its infringement, making a 'news event' out of its unauthorized first publication of a noted figure's copyrighted expression."
Regardless, I still don't want her controlling the police.
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