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Copyright and plagiarism claims against “The Girls” author dismissed

Emma Cline, author of best-selling novel “The Girls” has had claims of copyright infringement against her dismissed in the US. District Judge William Orrick dismissed the allegations of copyright infringement and plagiarism for Cline’s novel, without leave to amend. That means that any attempt to litigate the issue would have to be brought in fresh proceedings.

The novel was published in June 2016, is inspired by Charles Manson’s family and details the story of a young girl in 1969 who gets caught up in Manson’s infamous ranch-community.

The author was accused of copyright infringement and plagiarism by her ex-boyfriend Chaz Reetz-Laiolo. He claimed that Cline had stolen ideas from his work from his “All Sea” manuscript and alleged “numerous narrative overlaps” that he says were stolen using spyware software. “All Sea” is a novel about a teenager who is sent to live away from home with a ‘father figure’.

Cline filed a criminal complaint against Reetz-Laiolo in 2017, making a range of accusations including domestic abuse. Reetz-Laiolo responded on the same day by filing his copyright infringement and plagiarism claim. They both filed motions to dismiss one anothers’ claims.

Judge Orrick stated that the novels are “predominantly isolated” to general plot ideas that are not protected by copyright law. It will be interesting to see how determined Reetz-Laiolo is to continue his claim as he has since raised the issue of intermediate copying. Intermediate copying is an American concept governing the copying of work prior to a work’s publication by a person involved with or close to its creation.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com