Fighting Copyright Infringement in Text Publishing

HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Pearson Education, Princeton University Press, and Sage Publications have announced settling their copyright infringement lawsuit against Collegiate Copies of Bloomington, Indiana, and its owners, John E. Seeber and Thomas Seeber. The lawsuit, announced in July 2003, charged that Collegiate Copies engaged in routine and systematic reproduction of materials from the plaintiffs’ publications without seeking permission. Collegiate Copies has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in damages. Additionally, Collegiate Copies will respect the copyrights on works owned by the plaintiffs and used by Collegiate Copies, and pay the associated reuse royalties through rights licensing agent Copyright Clearance Center.

The publishers’ complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleged that Collegiate Copies was producing course materials for sale without gaining authorization from the publishers who held the rights to the coursepack content. Collegiate Copies provides coursepacks to universities in Indiana. Coursepacks are collections of excerpts from books, journals and other copyrighted materials that are photocopied and used as required reading for many college courses. Professors designate the materials included in the coursepacks, but the copy shop cannot reproduce and sell copyright protected materials without first securing permission from the copyright holder or its agent.

“We’re pleased that Collegiate Copies sees the importance of adhering to copyright law,” said Harriet Goldberg, deputy general counsel at Pearson Education. “This settlement is a positive milestone that ensures students will have access to the materials they need and that rightsholders are fairly compensated for the content they produce.”

“Copyright compliance rewards innovation and promotes creativity,” said Bob Weiner, vice president of licensing at Copyright Clearance Center. “We are eager to help Collegiate Copies comply with the law through our licensing services, thus ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace.”

Copyright Clearance Center helps businesses, academic institutions, copy shops, print centers, and other users of copyrighted materials comply with copyright law through its range of licensing solutions. Royalties collected by the not-for-profit company are distributed to the publishers, authors or other copyright owners who have engaged Copyright Clearance Center as their rights management agent. The original claim filed by the publishers was coordinated by Copyright Clearance Center as part of the company’s ongoing enforcement and education programs that promote copyright compliance.