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Denison v. Larkin, 2014 WL 3953637 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 13, 2014) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
Plaintiff, a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois, operated a blog on which she allegedly published false statements about judges and other lawyers. Defendants, officers of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) and IARDC itself, used software provided by co-defendant Nextpoint to copy large swaths of the blog for use in disciplinary proceedings against plaintiff. Plaintiff brought an infringement action claiming that defendants infringed the copyrights in her blog posts by copying "hundreds of pages from her blog" and that IARDC improperly reproduced "15 paragraphs of text" from her blog in a complaint filed against her in a professional misconduct proceeding.
The issue was whether it was fair use for defendants to copy large swaths of plaintiff's blog and to reproduce specific portions of the blog for use in related disciplinary proceedings against plaintiff.
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
The court ruled that defendants' copying and reproduction of plaintiff's blog for use in disciplinary proceedings was fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the court pointed to legislative history and Seventh Circuit precedent naming the reproduction of copyright-protected works for litigation or other judicial proceedings as an example of fair use. The court also found that all four fair use factors weighed in favor of a finding of fair use.