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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
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SoCal Mag Insists It’s Not a Plagiarist

MANHATTAN (CN) - Reader Magazine, which claims a free circulation of 120,000 in Southern California, claims in court that the Columbia Journalism Review defamed it by accusing it of plagiarism.

The Reader's founder and publisher Christopher Mark Theodore sued the Columbia Journalism Review and its associated editor Erika Fry, in Federal Court.

Established in 2001, "The Reader Magazine is a quarterly magazine which plaintiff publishes in Southern California. The Reader Magazine reaches nearly 120,000 households free of cost. It is financially supported by low cost advertising space sold to local small and mid-size businesses in the area," according to the complaint.

Theodore claims: "On October 28, 2011 defendant Fry published a story in the CJR entitled 'Plagiarism for Profit' about the Reader Magazine.

"The article further states as fact that the Reader's business model is plagiarism.

"The title of this article, as well as the statements that the Reader's business model is plagiarism, implies that the entirety of the content in the magazine is plagiarized.

"This is false and defamatory."

The CJR article provides numerous examples of the alleged plagiarism, including a 2008 interview with Senator John McCain, which Fry describes as "an awfully lot like - almost word for word, in fact - an interview CNN's Larry King did with John McCain in 2005."

Fry wrote that the Reader's "plagiarism is not isolated to a few sentences or a choice turn of phrase. It's not the work of a rogue reporter trying to get ahead, or an overwhelmed reporter trying to keep up. It is the whole scale ripping off of other's work."

Theodore claims the article is libelous, that "defendant Fry acted in a knowing and reckless manner falsely accusing the Reader Magazine to be based on plagiarism by entitling the article as 'Plagiarism for Profit' and stating as fact that plaintiff's business model is plagiarism."

"The Reader has been in business since 2001," the complaint states. "The Reader's business model is to sustain small and mid-size businesses in Southern California through this advertisement. Plaintiff supplements these advertisements with several pages of popular and primarily progressive articles, opinion pieces and other content."

Theodore seeks declaratory judgment that article is libelous, and wants it removed from the CJT website. He also seeks any damages "to which plaintiff may be entitled."

He is represented by Jeanne Mirer, with Eisner and Mirer in Manhattan.

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