Don't Risk It
When you make copies of published material for customers without getting the publisher's O.K. you're the one who will get penalized. Don't let it happen. Get permission.
Like many printers in 1990, Kinko's did not concern itself with getting permission to copy articles and book chapters for course packs. Kinko's proximity to local universities provided a booming business. What could go wrong?
Before it was over, Kinko's Graphics Corp. was slapped with over a half million dollars in statutory damages—and more—all because Kinko's ignored the copyright laws, while including a line citing "fair use" on the inside cover of many of its packets.
Today, many printers, both on and off campus, have gained experience through Kinko's loss. For printers, the most chilling aspect of the huge damage award can be found in a court note that states that the damage award was not based on financial loss to the plaintiff (publisher): "Kinko's had failed to instruct its employees in the pertinent aspects of copyright law. Substantial damages are necessary to deter Kinko's future infringements.'1
Learn The Rules
This brings me to my first point: we must educate ourselves on copyright issues. At the very least, we should all have a copy of the "Classroom Guidelines" that were included in the Report of the House Committee on the Judiciary (House Report No. 94-1476), which accompanied the Copyright Act of 1976. We should also familiarize ourselves with applicable case law.
Before Kinko's, there was the case against New York University, filed by the Association of American Publishers. More recently, Michigan Document Services (MDS) was sued by Princeton University Press. Each of these three cases deals with slightly different circumstances and provides a number of lessons to be learned.
With the NYU case, the minimum allowable uses, (as outlined in the Classroom Guidelines) were effectively transformed into maximum allowable standards, because any use that exceeded the minimum was considered not a fair use. The necessity for a university copyright policy was made clear.