Copyright Permission: Get It...Or Get Yours
WHEN ACCEPTING documents for printing over the network, how responsible are you for your customers’ copyright infringements? As the “button pusher” you are responsible for what you duplicate. In view of the prevalence of network printing, it would benefit in-plants to know their liability.
Since 2004, no less that six U.S. copy shops have been accused of unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted materials.
The Price of Noncompliance
• Two years ago in Austin, Texas, Abel’s Copies, Speedway Copying and NetPaks (one of the first cases to involve digital transmission of course materials) settled out of court with six major academic publishers. The owner of these three businesses agreed to an undisclosed monetary settlement and to “adopt compliant business practices” according to a Copyright Clearance Center press release.
• In October 2005, Cann Copy & Printing and Tan Tien Publications were both sued in San Jose, Calif., by six publishers who hope to stop the two businesses from further infringement and to demand royalty payments for unauthorized uses of their materials.
• In November 2005 two separate actions were filed in Massachusetts. Gnomon Copy has allegedly reproduced copyrighted materials repeatedly without authorization for use by Northeastern University students. In the case of CopyCat Printing in Springfield, the publishers claim that this shop only obtained partial permissions for reproducing course materials for use at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. (For those of you who are “making an effort” to obtain permissions, this should give you a chill.)
• In February 2006, Custom Copies of Gainesville, Fla., was sued for the second time. Although the owner, Kenneth Roberts, has paid royalties to publishers and to Copyright Clearance Center on a regular basis since 2000, he is being sued once again for photocopying and selling course packs containing copyrighted materials without asking for permission or paying royalties. In this case, 20 separate violations are cited from Spring 2003 to present. In the 2003 settlement, Custom Copies paid an undisclosed amount and agreed to report photocopy usage and pay royalty payments through the Copyright Clearance Center. Considering the outcome of the 2003 suit, one would think that the company would not be taking any chances. Instead, with a price tag of up to $150,000 per violation, it could now be facing a $3 million dollar penalty.