New York-based publisher Penguin Group’s battle against Oregon-based nonprofit American Buddha continues in Oregon after being dismissed in New York for lack of personal jurisdiction. American Buddha has uploaded complete copies of books and other media onto American Buddha’s online library that is accessible by some 50,000 members at no charge. Four of the books posted belong to mega-publisher Penguin, which claims copyright infringement. American Buddha claims (in the American Buddha Online Library Copyright Notice) to be operating safely under 17 U.S.C. Section 108, which exempts libraries and archives from liability for creating reproductions (under certain conditions). It seems a stretch to apply Section 108 to PDFs posted on a website but American Buddha claims to impose “contractual and technical limitations on access to the archive” that could potentially bring it within the contours of 108. “Library” isn’t defined in the Copyright Act but the context of 108 suggests it be interpreted in the traditional manner, as a real, physical location, not an online repository. It seems yet another part of the Copyright Act that might need clarification in the digital age. Stay tuned as the parties sort it out.
Penguin Group(USA) Inc. v. American Buddha
Court Case Number: 3:13-cv-00497-HU
File Date: Friday, March 22, 2013
Plaintiff: Penguin Group(USA) Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Duane A. Bosworth, II, Timothy M. Cunningham of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP
Defendant: American Buddha
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Oregon District Court
Judge: Magistrate Judge Dennis J. Hubel