IP lawyer copies IP lawyer, on copying!

“Who watches the Watchmen”. Image from here

[This post has been authored by Gopika and is being posted on her behalf].

[Update: We have an update to the post, as described at the bottom of the post].

The heights of irony! What do you do when an IP lawyer copies an IP lawyer – on the topic of copying?

A few days ago, Ms. Leila Amineddoleh, partner and co-founder of Galluzzo & Amineddoleh LLP and a specialist in art and IP law, alleged plagiarism (see here) of her paper entitled ‘Purchasing Art in a market full of forgeries: Risks and Remedies for buyers’ by an Indian copyright lawyer. Ms. Amineddoleh alleged that many parts of her article had been lifted verbatim and included in the article entitled ‘ The Rise of Fakes and False Attribution in the Art World’ published by Tehelka on April 19, 2016. The two pieces are here and here respectively.

Ms. Amineddoleh on her website specifically noted the irony of this situation where copyright lawyers writing on the area of art forgery and false attribution had resorted to plagiarism.

There were further developments in this matter yesterday. The concerned author wrote back to Ms. Amineddoleh acknowledging the oversight and error of judgment on her part. She explained the circumstances that led to the same in her response and apologized. You can see her full response letter here. As a resolution to the same, she offered either to have the essay jointly attributed to Ms. Amineddoleh and herself or to take the essay down, as per Ms. Amineddoleh’s preference. She also proposed to organize a seminar on plagiarism in 2016 at her personal cost and invited Ms. Amineddoleh to be the Keynote speaker at the seminar. Presently, we are not aware of whether Ms. Amineddoleh has responded to this letter.

In this context, it would be appropriate for us to think seriously about the issue of academic plagiarism. Just in the past year, we at SpicyIP have had many instances of plagiarism to report and discuss, ranging from the DIPP and the Delhi High Court to several academicians in our top universities. While measures to remedy this situation were undertaken in many of these instances, this clearly shows a deep malaise in our academic approach. The only solution to this is an attitudinal change, to adopt a no-tolerance policy towards plagiarism. It is highly imperative that such a no- tolerance policy is not only adopted presently but also inculcated from the school level and continuously stressed at every subsequent stage. Failure to do the same would only result in denuded respect for Indian research and scholarly writing.

Update: Since the time of posting this, we have an update:
Ms. Amineddoleh has responded to Ms Tejshree Savara’s letter here.
Ms. Savara has responded to that letter here.

[Editor’s note: We’ll be carrying a more detailed post on plagiarism and issues surrounding it very soon]


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10 thoughts on “IP lawyer copies IP lawyer, on copying!”

  1. While in the past you have never shied from putting the name of the, ‘The concerned author’, I do not see a reason for doing so here.

    The Indian lawyer in question is Tejshree Savara () and is a Law Advisor at Anand and Anand.

    Hope we all can learn from this.

    [Editor’s note: I’ve redacted the URL you put into your comment. Those who wish to find it on their own are free to do so outside of here].

  2. Interesting article. Seems to be a case of sour gapes. American lawyer looking for some media attention!

    Anony1- love your comment regarding naming the lawyer when you yourself have commented anonymously! If you want names, at least put in your name!!!

      1. Is it copying swaraj? I do agree the attribution should have been there but am not sure if this should be considered to be copying. We have all been inspired by articles and papers we read in the past and have used some common language which is why i feel attribution could have been there and this should not be considered as copying.

        In any case, the lawyer has agreed it to be an error in judgment and apologized and also provided a solution.

        Also isnt it ‘sour grapes’ or a publicity gimmick for the american lawyer to be blogging about it when the matter could have been resolved between the parties themselves?

        1. The resolution in this case is to properly notify readers of Ms. Aminedoleh’s authorship- that’s what she did by blogging. It’s not a “gimmick” to blog the truth and inform others that a work was wrongly attributed.

    1. Here’s to Sour Grapes (Raj Malhotra),

      When was the last time you wrote a published paper that was impressive enough to make someone else try to steal it? Judging from the way you write and your attitude, my guess is that the answer to that question is NEVER. Your response demonstrates that you understand little about writing, so let me educate you. Becoming a good writer requires time, training, and hard work. It is arguably the most difficult intellectual feat a person can accomplish because it calls for the use of many skills acquired over an entire lifetime of education (i.e., knowledge of a topic, organization, grammar, mechanics and usage, punctuation, capitalization, and artistic ability, just to name a few). To burnish those skills to the point that others care to read what one has written, and to become an expert in an area to the extent that others give a darn about one’s opinion, is to master one’s profession. To trivialize the seriousness of this matter, or to insinuate that Ms. Amineddoleh is trying to capitalize off of this incident when she is the victim, is ridiculous. It just shows your ignorance, lack of knowledge – beyond what is evident in your writing.

      A well-crafted piece of writing, whether it is artistic or scholarly, represents hard work and expertise. When one creates a piece of writing they put their heart and soul into it. To minimize what was done speaks to your character and habits. Would it be alright with you if I forged a check and withdrew money you earned from your bank account? Can I rewrite a “Playbill” and add my name to the list of actors because I wish that I could act or because I was merely in the audience? Did you go to college? Did you plagiarize or cheat? Hum! It’s the same thing.

      If you understand why we need laws protecting peoples’ property, physical, intellectual, or otherwise, you wouldn’t have made such a foolish comment. It is because of people just like you, who feel that it’s not “stealing;” no, it’s just “borrowing.” If someone wants to be acknowledged as a scholar and expert in a particular field, then they need to put in the time and energy to earn it.

      By the way, you better check your own bunch for sour grapes.

  3. Definitely not sour grapes. This is not a case of inspiration– entire paragraphs were copied with no attribution or citation. And it’s even worse when the copier is an IP lawyer and an “expert.” Also, how is it wrong for the American lawyer to get credit for her work by blogging about it. Tejshree Savara was getting publicity for stealing the words of another lawyer, and using that publicity to say that she is an expert in the field. It is only just for the American lawyer to demand recognition. And perhaps Ms. Tejshree gave into the demands once she learned about the American lawyer’s refusal to give up. I agree with Ms. Aminedoleh– stealing is NEVER right. People must face the consequences when they act unethically and unprofessionally.

  4. I don’t think it seems that Ms. Amineddoleh is looking for publicity. If you visit her website, you will see that she’s been in the NY Times (in a few articles), Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and even on the radio. She also writes and appears at many conferences and museums. Writing on her blog about this isn’t big publicity for her. The original article was big publicity for Tejshree. I could not find anything written by her.

  5. With all due respect, the comment from Raj is insane. “Sour grapes” and looking for “media attention.” This situation arose because another lawyer used Ms. Amineddoleh’s work. Ms. Savara stole Ms. Amineddoleh’s work (she illegally copied Ms. Amineddoleh’s work in violation of IP laws) to publish an article in her own name and receive recognition as an art lawyer. Ms. Savara was the one seeking media attention. This is not a case of “sour grapes.” If it were, Ms. Amineddoleh would have exploited all of her rights and demanded statutory damages under the Copyright Act and Berne Convention. No, this is not sour grapes. Ms. Amineddoleh rightfully demanded that she receive the proper attribution. She used her expertise and work to publish an excellent article, and another IP lawyer (a person who should know better) stole that. I assume Ms. Savara is “sour” that her unprofessional actions have been detected and exposed.

  6. Lady of the Manor

    This is rather interesting and I am glad that the issue is being addressed. Speaks volumes as to the idea of practising what one preaches. It is never okay to copy other people’s works and there should be no sentiments attached to excuse such behaviour.

    PS: It appears that there may be errors in some of the links.

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