Although much of the focus on copyright infringement in the past year has centered on illegal copying of coursepacks, publishers are equally concerned about protecting copyrighted content used by corporations.
In two new copyright lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and coordinated by Copyright Clearance Center, five STM publishers—the American Chemical Society, Elsevier Inc., Marcel Dekker Inc., SAGE Publications Inc. and Wiley Periodicals Inc.—accuse document deliverers Medical Review Services in Katy, Tex., and LMS Information Services in San Francisco of unauthorized distribution of protected materials to corporate clients via e-mail in PDF format.
According to Bob Wiener, CCC v-p of licensing and rights-holder relations, what separates these two suits from previous ones is that "these are commercial document deliverers who, if anything else, ought to know every nuance of the copyright laws." They are also the first involving electronic content. "Publishers," Wiener noted, "have a lot of concern about the storage of information and the transmitting of their material." The cases also point to the potential for copyright problems even when corporations are compliant and pay for licenses for the internal distribution of copyrighted material.
A small company, Medical Review Services, told PW that it can't afford to contest the suit. A spokesperson said, "We're in the midst of filing for bankruptcy." As for LMS, a source there referred to the case as "no big deal. They're simply trying to intimidate us. I doubt that it ever sees the inside of a courtroom. We access publicly owned [library] collections in the Bay Area. What's the difference between what we do and what an interlibrary loan does?" As LMS sees it, there are a lot of issues that have never been defined regarding copyright.