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Author Wins Attorneys’ Fees in Case

Published November 11, 2009

NEW YORK, NY (BRAIN)—A New York judge has awarded cycling author Julie Harrell more than $65,000 in attorneys' fees stemming from a copyright lawsuit she won earlier this year against Cycle Publishing.

On Tuesday, Robert Van der Plas and his company Cycle Publishing were ordered to pay Harrell $65,314 in attorneys’ fees—taking into account a reduction of 15 percent for elementary or clerical tasks—and $624.97 in litigation costs.

Last June, the judge ruled in Harrell’s favor awarding her $7,500 and directing Van der Plas to turn over the remaining copies of the book in question “A Women’s Guide to Bikes and Biking” to Harrell.

Harell said the outcome of the case, and Tuesday’s ruling for attorneys’ fees, was the “best case scenario.”

“I write for a living and I need my name to be clear,” Harrell said.

Harrell sued Van der Plas and Cycle Publishing in September 2008 for reprinting an unauthorized copy of “A Women’s Guide to Bikes and Biking” and selling it online and in bookstores in the U.S. and internationally.

Cycling Publishing originally obtained rights to publish the book in 1999, but in 2006, relinquished all but the limited right to sell and keep in stock current versions of the book.

In 2008, Harrell discovered that Cycle Publishing was selling a lower quality version of the book without her permission. She sued after Van der Plas refused to stop selling the book, Harrell said.

Although Harrell won the case, she said the book remains available online because Van der Plas sold a large order to the distributor Ingram before the judge’s ruling.

“It’s sad. I would like to say to everyone: Do not buy the current book on Amazon. It has crappy text; it’s not the original, which was fairly well done. The 2008 version is not worth buying,” she said.

Van der Plas’ attorney did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment on the case.

—Nicole Formosa

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