Definition - What does Abridgment mean?

An abridgment is a piece of written language that has been reduced from a longer form to a shorter form. To abridge is to distill the main points and essence of a complex work into a simpler work.

Abridgment is at issue in copyright law when courts are asked to determine if an abridgment is an act of plagiarism or an original work worthy of copyright protection.

Justipedia explains Abridgment

Copyright protections ensure that writers’ and other artists’ intellectual property cannot be plagiarized and sold by someone else for profit. When someone abridges a writer’s longer work into a shorter, easier-to-read work, and then sells the shorter work for profit, the original writer may sue, claiming that the abridgment is plagiarism.

Typically, courts will protect an abridgment if the abridger can prove that the abridgment required an independent exercise of the mind and was not simple plagiarism.

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