Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Share a News Story With Coworkers, Pay a Fine

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the better-just-send-the-url dept.

The Almighty Buck 243

An anonymous reader sends us to InfoWorld for news that Knowledge Networks, an analyst firm, has settled a copyright complaint, agreeing to pay the Software and Information Industry Association $300,000 for sharing copyrighted news articles internally with employees.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Article Text (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20252481)

Analyst firm Knowledge Networks has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a complaint that it distributed news articles to its employees without permission of the copyright owners, a trade group announced Thursday.

The Knowledge Networks settlement is the first under the Software & Information Industry Association's Corporate Content Anti-Piracy Program, launched in October.

Knowledge Networks' marketing group had been distributing press packets to some employees on a regular basis, the SIIA said. Those packets contained articles under copyright and owned by SIIA members such as the Associated Press, United Press International, and publishing company Reed Elsevier, the trade group said.

SIIA litigation counsel Scott Bain called Knowledge Networks a "reputable company that made a very costly mistake." One of SIIA's goals for the settlement is to deter copyright infringement and educate other companies about the need for compliance programs, he said.

A Knowledge Networks spokesman declined to talk about the case in detail. "We are happy the matter has been resolved amicably," said spokesman Dave Stanton.

Knowledge Networks, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has agreed to take steps to avoid further problems, including sending its staff to an SIIA copyright course, SIIA said.

In a statement distributed by SIIA, Knowledge Networks said it regretted the actions.

"[We] disseminated copies of relevant newspaper and magazine articles in the good faith belief that it was lawful to do so," the company said in the statement. "We now understand that practice may violate the copyright rights of those publications. We regret that those violations may have occurred and we are pleased that this matter has now been resolved."

Asked if internal distribution of news articles was commonplace at many companies, SIIA's Bain disagreed. "Companies do not do this all the time," he said. "Some companies have compliance procedures in place to keep it from happening."

Compliance procedures include staff designated for licensing and compliance, sufficient budgets for the content licensing needs of the company, education programs for staff, deals with major content outlets, and strict policies and internal penalties for violating copyright, Bain said.

SIIA learned about the situation through a confidential tip, the trade group said. The person who reported Knowledge Networks will receive a $6,000 reward.

Re:Article Text (1)

Cerberus911 (834576) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252587)

Prepare to get sued.

Re:Article Text (5, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252591)

By reposting the article's text and sharing said article with everyone on slashdot, you have just committed a violation of copyright law. The submitter, and Anonymous Coward, must now pay the fine of $300,000 immediately, or be subjected to further lawsuits.

Re:Article Text (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252669)

Why else do you think he did it anonymously?

Re:Article Text (3, Funny)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253301)

On /. there is no such thing as a true "anonymous" post. This "anonymous" guy/girl that posted has actually left an IP address. If the address was not from some public source, than that IP could be traced back to the poster. :-)

Thank you for playing the, "I wish I could have free speech in America" game. You will be sued shortly!

Re:Article Text (2, Informative)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253485)

On /. there is no such thing as a true "anonymous" post.

how about with:
the cloak [the-cloak.com]
tor [eff.org]

Re:Article Text (2, Insightful)

Chase Husky (1131573) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253511)

This is a rather sudden change of heart, when compared to the "IP addresses can't be used as undeniable proof of copyright infringement" antics if the RIAA is involved.

Re:Article Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253535)

If the address was not from some public source, than that IP could be traced back to the poster.


Really? The RIAA haters don't seem to think that traffic that sources at an IP address under your control, that is assigned to the device of the registered customer of a service provider, is legally connected to you.

Re:Article Text (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252699)

Why do you think they submitted the article anonymously in the first place? ;-)

Re:Article Text (1)

darklynx489 (1143609) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252793)

All /. er's please report to "Community Detoxification Room 93" to be punished for participating and contributing to the illegal spreading of news. Failure to appear will result in a full fledged manhunt and a bounty will be placed on your being for the amount of $30k. All gossip must be submitted under form RI-9339. Failure to comply will result in mortal termination. Thank you. Hitler. err... disregard that name. Hitler is not alive. I did not just say I was alive. Failure to comply with erasing this from memory will result in termination.

Re:Article Text (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20252925)

What kind of moron mods such an obvious "joke" funny?

It wasn't. Not even a little.

I guess it has to be "funny" though, as "extremely obvious and completely lacking creativity" isn't available.

Re:Article Text (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252995)

There isn't a mod for poetic justice or situational irony. Funny was the next best thing. Give 'em a break or give more mod options.

Re:Article Text (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253213)

Don't worry, I know the GP's identity. I'm phoning the SIIA as I type to get my $6,000 reward.

Damn the number is ./ed

Re:Article Text (-1, Offtopic)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252727)

Whoever modded you Redundant needs to grow a sense of humour.

Re:Article Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253579)

It's just "Moderator Bias"; just post it as Anonymous Coward to avoid the SlashDot Bad Karma. (Don't fight it, is not worth the trouble.)

Re:Article Text (1)

jacobsm (661831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252923)

Since I now live in the Tampa Florida area and have learned about the history of the city this fits in rather well with this topic.

About 100 years ago Tampa had a huge cigar industry. The cigar workers would hire a person to sit and read the newspaper aloud to them as they worked.

Think of all the money the newspaper publishers could have received if they sued from the Cuban cigar workers back then.

It just boggles my mind.

Re:Article Text (1)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253759)

They still do that in Cuba - the cigar makers get read newspapers, books and poetry. If they like the item they tap their knives on the table. Although, since Cube is already under embargo, I doubt if there is anything the RIAA can do about that, let alon the illegal satellite/cable TV setups just so the womenfolk can watch Latin-American soap operas.

Not so anonymous... (1)

2names (531755) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253091)

It will be easy to find out who snitched...just look for the person with the brand new 60" LCD TV.

Re:Article Text (1)

azvoodoo (304522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253611)

Why stop at articles. Every Monday during football season there are millions of copyright breakers. These are the people discussing the weekends footballs games around the water cooler.

According to the blurb during the game " ... ANY dissemination of this broadcast without prior approval ... is strictly forbidden ... " (sic)

Re:Article Text (3, Interesting)

rpbird (304450) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253669)

This is old-school copyright infringement. Nothing to see here, move along. You cannot reproduce copyrighted material in its entirety and distribute it to hundreds of people. Charging for the copies doesn't matter. Way back around 1980, a professor of mine was doing something similar with articles from science magazines. He created a reader for one of his classes and distributed it to his students. We had to pick it up at the university's copy center. He got into trouble with the copyright holders. You have to get permission to reprint articles. This is only a little work, and, depending on the articles, only a little money (though a few copyright owners will try to screw you by jacking up the price - solution, leave that article out).

now that I've told my office (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252485)

Now that I've distributed this article to my office peers, I suppose I'm now open to legal scrutiny. WTH?

Supposedly the antagonists in this story claim this is not a common thing for companies:

Asked if internal distribution of news articles was commonplace at many companies, SIIA's Bain disagreed. "Companies do not do this all the time," he said. "Some companies have compliance procedures in place to keep it from happening."

I suspect quite the opposite. Sure there are companies big enough and diligent enough with deep enough pockets to engage in OCD behaviors such as this one -- applying bizarre policy to bizarre and grey legal matters.

I can't help but wonder what these antagonists think... do they want as few people reading their material as possible?

And, talk about hostile controlling behaviors, also from the article:

Knowledge Networks, based in Menlo Park, California, has agreed to take steps to avoid further problems, including sending its staff to an SIIA copyright course, SIIA said.

In a statement distributed by SIIA, Knowledge Networks said it regretted the actions.

So, to appease SIIA, send staff to their copyright course (wonder if it's free... probably not), and let SIIA issue public releases stating offender's public remorse for it's transgression.

Sometime I'd just love to find an employee of one of these types (SIIA, RIAA, you name it), and follow him around for a couple of days and issue a complaint the first time I see him reading even a snippet of an article over someone's shoulder on the bus or train, or tapping his foot to even a motif from some else's music player.

What a crock!

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

FlatLine84 (1084689) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252555)

It's all because the ads accompanying the news articles aren't being viewed by everyone reading the article. Someone wants their money, nothing new here....

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252575)

Mmm, i love the smell of desperation on slashdot in the afternoon.

If they go RIAA with this (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252633)

If they go RIAA over news articles, things are going to get real ugly, real quick. Even though I disagree with the RIAA's tactics, I can at least see their line of reasoning. If people start getting sued for cutting and pasting text...when they weren't even making the text public, the crap is going to hit the fan.

Then again, maybe this is will be the wakeup call that everyone needs to see that things are working right.

Transporter_ii

Re:now that I've told my office (4, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252691)

I can't help but wonder what these antagonists think... do they want as few people reading their material as possible?
They just want complete and total tracking over who reads the articles so they can measure their worth in ad dollars. Much like music, except they pretend that it is so the artists can be compensated for every person who hears the music.

Copyright becomes trackingright to squeeze every possible cent out of the work. If you dare come up with a new way to derive enjoyment from a work, they'll seek ways to ensure they get paid for that too.

Re:now that I've told my office (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253131)

What's wrong with squeezing every penny out of the reporter's work? Don't you want every penny of salary you're entitled to get?

Okay, there's no reason to be zealous to the point of making the world unworkable, but what's wrong with asking people to see the ads that support the work. If you don't, the reporter doesn't get paid and the news dries up. I think there are real problems with the major media, but I have to say that I trust them more than the bloggers and the nuts on Slashdot. (Now the serious posters like me are a different story. :-) If only I could tell the difference in advance.)

Re:now that I've told my office (1, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253225)

What's wrong with squeezing every penny out of the reporter's work? Don't you want every penny of salary you're entitled to get?
That presumes they're entitled to any and all money they can get.

Let's make something very clear: the content providers don't give a damn that you aren't seeing the ads; they only give a damn when you can't be counted. They're not concerned about the advertisers being paid attention; they are only concerned about how much money they can get out of the advertisers to sell to them your attention based on their content's page views.

The advertiser's actual return on investment has never been the content provider's concern.

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

DekeTheGeek (1143637) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253345)

I suppose that would be the same with pop-up blockers and pop-up ads. The content provider doesn't care that you see them; just that you've been there.

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253513)

...but what's wrong with asking people to see the ads that support the work. If you don't, the reporter doesn't get paid and the news dries up.

If these guys aren't getting the compensation they desire for the work they produce, then let them stop producing the work. Let it dry up; there's obviously not the paid demand they thought for the product.

Using the law to artificially prop up an activity for which there is not enough paid demand is just asking for trouble in the long run.

Note that the "paid" aspect of the demand is important. Pretending that there is demand for something when people aren't willing to pay means the demand is actually very low, because you can't say there is or is not demand for something that is free.

Some things that people think are "free" aren't. Take, for instance, clean air. It's not really free, because people are willing to sacrifice something to get clean air.

If "news" or "music" is really in demand, than people will sacrifice something to get it. Since there is a large portion of the population not willing to sacrifice money to get those things, the demand isn't really there. It's more like people are saying "hey cool this thing fell in my lap, I'm going to use it." It's like a gift rather than something they pay for.

(I do realize that even with music, etc. in today's market people are actually "paying" for downloads for which they do not pay money: They are paying in units of "risk of getting caught" which are currently valued far lower than the currency units used to otherwise obtain that music / software / movie / whatever. Throw that one on the currencies exchange market - and be enlightened!)

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253809)

They just want complete and total tracking over who reads the articles so they can measure their worth in ad dollars. Much like music, except they pretend that it is so the artists can be compensated for every person who hears the music. Copyright becomes trackingright to squeeze every possible cent out of the work. If you dare come up with a new way to derive enjoyment from a work, they'll seek ways to ensure they get paid for that too.

Knowing how many people view their content seems like a reasonable goal for a content creator. Whether for bragging rights, the ability to get interviews/demos, or even, the third hated level of ads, it seems like the main reason that people create freely available web content is so that other people will see it, and they will know that other people are seeing it.

And for what it's worth, as long as the tracking isn't personally identifiable, I'd rather the ads support pages I like keeping them up and running and letting other sites die from a (relative) lack of popularity.

Evil, and More Restrictive than Paper. (5, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252713)

I can't help but wonder what these antagonists think... do they want as few people reading their material as possible?

They want money, what else? The proposed remedies are an extortion - pay $300,000 per year in "compliance staff" or $300,000 in fines or some kind of "reasonable licensing" fee. This case also has the stink of nailing a smaller player to score propaganda points and lay down favorable judgement before they go after bigger fish like Google.

The sickest thing about this is that the end result will be more restrictive than paper. People have shared newspapers, magazines and clippings from them. They did this even before copy machines made it easy to duplicate the material. Now that computers have made it costless to duplicate information and make sure everyone who needs it can have it, these turds come out and advocate technology that's about as restrictive as clay tablets. You have to wonder if sending lists of links with excerpts is next on their list of "piracy" and how any organization can tell anyone anything if they win.

Re:Evil, and More Restrictive than Paper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253375)

For God's sake, it's not "more restrictive than paper", and trying this sort of thing with paper would also get you in trouble. If there is a difference, it's that pulling this sort of nonsense with paper would be so ridiculous that fewer people would try it.

Corporations pay people to collect information from news articles, journals, private services, and so on. The people they pay are professionals with degrees and knowledge of industry practices, including what can be re-distributed freely and what can't be.

In this case, it's not even a grey area. Salaried employees had, as a job function, daily redistribution of collections of copyrighted works, in their entirety, for the purpose of helping the corporation making a profit. This is not "fair use" by any stretch, but they decided they'd rather not pay the copyright holders for doing any of this--even though it's not only clear that you "should" (legally speaking), but that the core responsibility of an information professional is to ensure employees have legal access to information they need, when they need it. There isn't some secret about whether this is OK--companies pay large sums to keep this information stream flowing. It's part of the cost of doing business, and for some information providers their only income stream. Either the people making these daily packets this were utterly incompetent, or some higher up told them do it when he saw the budget request, because he thought they would get away with it.

The idea that this is the legal equivalent of sharing a newspaper is ridiculous. It's the legal equivalent of making multiple copies of a newspaper, every day, and passing it around the office. That hasn't been legal in corporate libraries ever, AFAIK; certainly not in the 20 years I've been working.

It also has nothing to do with sharing a news story with a coworker, despite the headline. Look up "fair use" (a justifiably popular concept on slashdot) and run down the criteria that determine it--the two examples are different.

I'm hardly a big fan of our current copyright system, but this example is pretty much a no brainer--either all copyright is meaningless and unenforceable, or this was just a blatant violation by people who knew better.

Think again. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253725)

For God's sake, it's not "more restrictive than paper", and trying this sort of thing with paper would also get you in trouble. ... It's the legal equivalent of making multiple copies of a newspaper, every day, and passing it around the office.

Can you tell me how I'm supposed to pass an electronic copy of an article or whole newspaper to my co-worker, without making a copy?

this example is pretty much a no brainer--either all copyright is meaningless and unenforceable, or this was just a blatant violation by people who knew better.

Both branches of your false choice are wrong. Laws made to encourage physical publication and distribution are closer to meaningless than you would like to admit. The people sharing news did not think what they were doing was wrong and they are correct. My excepting your blather is neither immoral nor illegal. You might have noticed that I except a lot of news and share it with people like you. I'm sure that there is nothing wrong with either my excepts nor Slashdot's publication of them. When organizations twist copyright law into extortion and control of ideas, they have turned it from it's original purpose to it's opposite. Copyright is supposed to enrich the public domain and spread knowledge, not restrict it.

Re:Evil, and More Restrictive than Paper. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253803)

For God's sake, it's not "more restrictive than paper", and trying this sort of thing with paper would also get you in trouble.

The idea that this is the legal equivalent of sharing a newspaper is ridiculous.
Well it sure seems like they want sharing one copy and making multiple copies to be equivalently illegal, and making it so that in a workplace there isn't one newspaper subscription shared by everyone but instead there are some 50 copies of each paper delivered to the company each day, one for each employee. Or charge higher rates for "business delivery" than individuals pay.

I seem to remember reading a story (sorry, no cite) where a newspaper was upset with the local library for making the current edition of the paper available for people to walk in and read without paying.

Re:Evil, and More Restrictive than Paper. (1)

dufachi (973647) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253505)

Damn. And here I've been trying to get two sites that have ripped off the content from one of my websites to remove my content to no avail for two years; and companies are suing each other over photocopies. I want $300,000, too!

Re:now that I've told my office (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252903)

Actually, no.

The internet is a special case. If you send this article to your peers, you're most likely going to send the link...You're not going to print it out, bind it up, and distribute it as part of a new employee orientation packet...That is not authorized reuse.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that had to buy bound xeroxes of newspaper/magazine articles for classes in school...The reason that those are so expensive is because they pay the royalties to get the rights to reprint that work.

Re:now that I've told my office (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253073)

This isn't about reading anything. It's unauthorized copying and distribution of a copyrighted work. You can argue fair use if you send someone a copy of an MP3, but you can't argue fair use if you burn a copy of the CD for everyone you know, and that goes a million times more if it's a company doing it as part of their corporate policy. That's just horseshit.

Bunch of damn anti-copyright zombies not reading the damn story. This is what copyright is supposed to be about. You write a well researched article that ends up in a trade magazine, and then some PHB at IBM decides he likes it, sends it down to the printshop, and runs off 10,000 copies so he can give one to every employee, and what do you get? Squat.

What do you think someone is going to get out of free distribution in this case? You think Bob, writer of economic trend stories, is going to get more people buying his articles because some joker ripped it off? Maybe he'll sell more seats at his concerts! Come on.

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253647)

I've read your post, and understand your logic, seeing your points. However I feel no sympathy for either side in this case, nor does it do any to increase my faith in the US copyright system.

Re:now that I've told my office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253653)

Thanks for your posts - I read just the first few paragraphs of the article and knew that the threads here would be filled with anti-copyright zombies, as you said. Good work.

No, I'm not new here.

Not a mater of legality, a mater of legal costs. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253323)

KN looked at the situation, figured the would have to pay $500 an hour for legal over a court case that would likely drag on 6+ months. Have the lawyer(s) work only 40 hours a week for 6 months would have cost them over $500,000. They took the smart move, paid the settlement, and left the challenge for someone with more to lose.

This practice is nothing more than legal extortion.

-Rick

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253423)

Money quote:

" [We] disseminated copies of relevant newspaper and magazine articles in the good faith belief that it was lawful to do so ," the company said in the statement. "We now understand that practice may violate the copyright rights of those publications." [emphasis added]
So they don't even know for sure that what they did was wrong, but they buckled under. Wow. Three hundred grand for a "maybe." You've got to wonder how hard they leaned on them to get that kind of response. If that isn't extortion, I don't know what is.

Re:now that I've told my office (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253541)

Now that I've distributed this article to my office peers, I suppose I'm now open to legal scrutiny. WTH?

Yes, but:

The person who reported Knowledge Networks will receive a $6,000 reward.

So my recommendation is:

1) Send article to coworkers
2) Rat yourself out
3) Profit!

Dilbert photocopies (4, Funny)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252497)

The previous company I worked for, which laid me off, routinely had "Dilbert" comic strip photocopies on people's doors. Can I turn them in and get six grand?

Re:Dilbert photocopies (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252719)

The previous company I worked for, which laid me off, routinely had "Dilbert" comic strip photocopies on people's doors. Can I turn them in and get six grand?
--
All ideas^H^H^H^H^Hprocesses in this post are Patent Pending. (as well as the process of patenting all postings)
That's even funnier when you take into account your .sig.

At various companies I've worked for, including some Detroit car company that starts with F, photocopies of automotive industry-related articles were often passed around at meetings. Where's my six grand?

Oh wait, Maximum Prophet, don't sue me!!!

Re:Dilbert photocopies (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252775)

You are no Wally, Maximum Prophet. If you were, you will post Dilbert strips in your own office and rat on your employer to collect that six grand. If the employer tries to collect that money from you, you would dodge it by saying the company had no explicit policy prohibiting it.

Re:Dilbert photocopies (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252943)

No. Did the company make copies and distribute them to all employees?

The summary is awful. This isn't about "sharing" anything. It is about unauthorized reprinting of someone else's copyrighted work. The analogy isn't "Singing someone a few bars of a new hit tune by the watercooler" it's "Burning a copy of the CD for everyone who works in the building, and distributing them." The first is fair use, the second is systematic copyright infringement.

Re:Dilbert photocopies (1)

Angus McNitt (542101) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253171)

Depends on the details. We don't know how they were redistributed and if the authors name and publication were retained. If they remained, then I would think you could site fair use, same a citing a full work piece. If you removed them, then all fair use bets are off. From the lack of information in the article, my guess is that it is a scare piece.

I wouldn't go as far as saying it is equivalent to distributing pirated CD at work, however it does serious question fair use limitations. At what point can you no longer cite or quote a work or article without paying? Is it by length or idea? Does the medium matter? And so on.

Re:Dilbert photocopies (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253569)

I think this is already beat to death, even 15 years ago in college we had to buy packets of copied magazine articles for class. They've been beating up schools for teachers passing out news clips to students for years. This is the same thing only at a company.

Huh? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20252519)

How is a normal person supposed to pay a $300k fine? Do you lose your house and car if you're fined? I'd almost rather go to jail.

Re:Huh? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252573)

they just take it out of your pay.

Re:Huh? (1)

Spuds (8660) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252653)

I don't know about you, but if I went to jail for any length of time, I'd lose my house and car anyways because I wouldn't have the money to pay for them. Even if they were paid off, I'd have property taxes to pay and I'd have no money coming in to pay them with. So no, jail would not be better.

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252729)

A normal person would not have been fined that much. It was a corporation using the copyrighted material in the process of conducting business. I'm not sure they were even fined or if this is just a number they agreed to pay.

They could have just sent links to the original articles and saved all the hassle.

Bogus! (3, Funny)

He Who Waits (1102491) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252571)

My company circulates material like this on a regular basis. This is to totally bogus -- wait, six grand you say?

Not A New Principle (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20252603)

This is old news, of a sort, in the scientific community. More than a decade ago it was settled that corporate libraries couldn't blithely photocopy and distribute copyrighted journal articles they'd purchased one copy of. Part of the decision was based on the fact that it is was already quite easy then for a large library to turn over fees for single reprints--that was part of business model of copyright holders.

This seems to more obviously infringing in some ways, so I'm not surprised it's also a copyright violation. Routine, organized corporate redistribution of content--roughly the equivalent of getting one subscription to a newspaper and photocopying it for all your employees.

Wow! This is really interesting news! (2, Funny)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252625)

I made sure to copy all of my coworkers with this...

Re:Wow! This is really interesting news! (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252725)

Just send them the link to google news or whatever ... they've got deeper pockets than you or me ...

Disgruntled employees...gets 'em every time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20252629)

SIIA learned about the situation through a confidential tip, the trade group said. The person who reported Knowledge Networks will receive a $6,000 reward.

Share News Story With Coworkers? That's A Paddlin' (2, Funny)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252651)

When will it stop?

Ain't Just Whistlin' (C) Dixie (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252665)

All content is copyrighted whenever it's published. Everyone carries mobile phones with mics, and soon cameras will be universal. By then, speech and image recognition will be accurate enough for copyright holders to claim infringement whenever they have any evidence, however unreliable, to make the claim.

The copyright industry will force everyone to keep quiet all the time. But the phones will still ring in movie theaters - they just won't be able to record the movie without getting caught.

The Congress shall have power [cornell.edu] [...]
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

The current overreaching copyright regime inhibits, rather than promotes, the progress of science and useful arts. It secures for unlimited times to parties other than authors, like publishers and agencies, exclusive rights. That inhibit, rather than promote the progress that justifies the Constitution's original compromise with our inalienable freedom to express ourselves, even by copying another's content.

At one time, for a few hundred years, economics meant copyright was the compromise between perfect freedom and perfect commerce. But now technology and global interconnectedness have reduced the time in which exclusivity is justifiable, even as corporations have extended the "limited times" to longer, indefinitely long, periods.

We have to scrap this thing and start over with new limited times, shorter than the original 17 years (a human generation) of the late 1700s. Or it will scrap us, as it has already done for far too long.

Sane Copyright Reform (2, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253271)

It's interesting, I think, that telling stories isn't copyrightable - verbal regurgitation of a story - but when you put it in a 'tangible' form, it becomes copyrightable.

Well, that was fine at a time in history when in order to put something in a tangible form required great effort - a printing press or whatever and a physical distribution network- but now - it's a matter of CTRL-C > CTRL-V > SEND/PUBLISH (etc).

The 'fixed and tangible form' is as near to the fluidity of verbal communication as makes next to no goddamn difference.

We write now, as we used to talk; we disseminate our communication as much electronically as physically (at the water cooler or whatever); we e-mail stories and clippings to that wider electronic social sphere - and it's no more difficult - in fact easier - than opening our meatholes and flapping our lips.

Our communications have changed; our means and modes of social interaction. Laws covering our communications have not kept pace (and have in fact retrogressed).

We do not need to abolish copyright to achive this, we need sane copyright reform that ACCEPTS and EMBRACES and works with our new means of mass-instant-digital-remix-sample-communication without seeking to penalise us for using it; that doesn't seek to punish us for using one of the greatest and most useful technolocial and social developments.

We need Sane Copyright Reform.

-Blue Stone.

It also needs to handle software better (2, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253273)

Copyright is supposed to promote progress by helping new ideas to be spread as widely as possible, so they can be picked up and built upon by others. That's how progress happens, by incremental steps, each new idea standing on the shoulders of those that came before. Copyright specifically protects only the expression, not the ideas, so it's not necessary to wait until the term expires before you can incorporate the interesting ideas into your own work.

But the brain-dead way we apply the concept of copyright to software does not allow such sharing of ideas, not at any other than the very coarsest level. Not only that, by applying copyright protections to binaries, current application of the law enables infringement.

The authors of the constitution, of course, could never have envisioned an environment in which it was possible to both publish your work *and* keep it secret. How can an author of a book publish without revealing his sentence structure, word choice, characters, plot line, etc.? But with software, it's not only possible but common to publish your software in an opaque, binary-only form that makes it nearly impossible for anyone to read your work and understand the clever ideas you may have used.

Even worse, software that is published only in binary format need *never* see the light of day, not even when the copyright expires. No one will ever be able to use that code to build something else, even if it is in the public domain, because the source was never published. It's not even necessary to give your source to the Library of Congress when you register the copyright.

In my ideal world, I would grant copyright protection to software if and only if the source code were published. Executables would be covered as well, of course, but coverage could only be obtained by publishing the source so that recipients can study and learn from it. They can't copy it, of course, or even compile it (since that would be creation of a derived work), but they can learn from it and use the ideas all they like, promoting progress in the Art and Science of software development. As a side benefit any literal copying of source code without the copyright holder's permission would become much easier to identify and track. Those who have reason to keep their source code secret would not be eligible for copyright, but they could still rely on contract and trade secret law for protection.

It'll never happen, of course, but IMNSHO, that's how it *should* be.

Re:It also needs to handle software better (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253787)

I agree. Patent and copyright protection are based on the requirement that all the details are disclosed. Encoded content should not get that protection. Only published human readable content - source code - can be so protected.

Binary only code can not be protected. So it will be disadvantaged.

Your idea is good. And though it's far from current practice, keep in mind that persistence with a good idea that well models real practice is the key to seeing the model applied in new rules.

And publishing the idea widely, without restriction ;).

Sensationalist Headline (4, Insightful)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252723)

This settlement is not about sharing a news story with a coworker. This is about a company building internal procedures around photocopying news articles, putting together a news packet, and distributing these packets around as form of employee education.

So, everybody who's yelling about getting in trouble for reading over a coworker's shoulder, or not being allowed to email links just needs to calm down and read the fine article.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20252859)

They also are in the business of analyzing news and selling that analysis. Yet another reason this isn't the same as posting a copy of an article on a cube wall.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (2, Interesting)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253043)

Even further than that, the company in question is basically a company that sells information (their analysis of other information) and would probably be very quick to complain if thier product was being distributed beyond paying customers.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253159)

Nevertheless, the article does raise a lot of questions.

I wonder if posting a snippet of a news article on a company Intranet would be considered a copyright violation? I know for a fact that many attorneys routinely shuttle snippets of text clipped from Lexis/Nexis back and forth during the preparation of a case brief or pleading. I also routinely receive clippings from co-workers that they have passed along in order to "educate" me about a particular issue. This article makes me feel that these behaviors are now questionable, at best, and possibly illegal at worst.

I do not think this is a good thing - it's too much like crushing the free exchange of ideas.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253237)

I don't think anyone but the copyright fascists mind when someone makes a single photocopy. But when a company builds their own newspaper out of photocopied material and then distributes it to hundreds of people, that seems wrong to me. Where's the line? 10 people? 20 people? To me, it's around 8-10. I can see how others put the line higher. What about other readers?

Re:Sensationalist Headline (1)

pravuil (975319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253285)

IANAL. Even then, there shouldn't be anything wrong with that. They do it in schools, universities and not to mention meetings at the office. Little packets of information to inform have a little thing called a bibliography. Now if they applied for and ISBN number for the packets then it might be a different story.

The problem with this though is that they are a commercial business and not a nonprofit organization. That isn't stated inside the article. It's implied without any thought into what the decision really meant. It's bad reporting because he doesn't cite the reason why the company lost the case. He doesn't bring up the specific law or precedence used to create the decision. If there is sensationalism on the part of the poster there is good reason. And yes, I did RTFA.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (1)

CompleatGentleman (1077581) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253767)

They do it in schools, universities Schools and universities usually have one or both of i) certain exceptions in the copyright law (depending on jurisdiction) or ii) licensing agreements with copyright boards.

it just occurred to me that.. (2, Interesting)

mofag (709856) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252747)

.. and this is slightly off-topic but wouldn't this kind of silly lawsuit where it is settled out of court would be a wonderful way to transfer money from one company to another without paying any taxes (surely if you're receiving damages then they would not be taxed as you would have (arguably) already suffered a (n albeit intangible) loss of similar or greater value which should more than offset the tax burden of the settlement. I am not an accountant but.... :)

Re:it just occurred to me that.. (3, Insightful)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252945)

Not an accountant either, but here's a rule of thumb: if it's an expense to one party it's income to the other.

Re:it just occurred to me that.. (1)

mofag (709856) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253103)

Yes I understand that which is why I talked about the loss part. In most countries you pay taxes on your net income. Now if you are receiving damages then you presumably have suffered an equal or greater loss which would mean that as the aggregate of those two transactions, your net income would be zero or negative and so not subject to tax. Nick

So don't photocopy articles... (5, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252773)

I'm sure I'll get flamed and modded "troll" for this, but:
Don't photocopy articles for commercial purposes.
If you are running a business and you need, say 500 of your employees to have access to this information, then you really probably should be paying for more than ONE (1) magazine subscription..
Go talk to the magazine/newspaper company and negotiate a contract to provide the information you need to your employees.

As a slashdotter, I know I'm supposed to believe that "information wants to be free", but there are costs for gathering and reporting news. If anyone can photocopy the news without permission, it becomes harder for the newspaper to recover its costs.

The photocopying of journal articles has been held NOT to be a fair use - which is probably why the defendant settled. See American Geophysical Union, et al. v. Texaco, Inc., a Second Circuit court of appeals case from 1994.
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?c ourt=2nd&navby=docket&no=929341 [findlaw.com]

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (1)

hraefn (627340) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253005)

Aren't there already some very simple [wikipedia.org] means [wikipedia.org] to avoid copyright violations?

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (3, Interesting)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253197)

This would be much smarter than a photocopy...
But you are incorrect if you believe that by merely quoting an author you are thereby protected from copyright liability. Copyright infringement does not depend on a lack of attribution. Copyright infringement is not plagiarism.

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253029)

For those who don't want to sign up for a free Findlaw account:
The court held that it was not fair use for Texaco research scientists to make and keep photocopies of articles from scientific journals. Texaco had a large library of scientific journals, and its 500+ researchers could check them out, and would routinely make photocopies of articles they found interesting to keep at their desks.
One judge dissented.
Here is the majority's response to the dissenting opinion (This is all you really need to read to understand the majority's position - the fair use factors are boring):

Though we recognize the force of many observations made in Judge Jacobs's dissenting opinion, we are not dissuaded by his dire predictions that our ruling in this case "has ended fair-use photocopying with respect to a large population of journals," ___ F.3d at ___, or, to the extent that the transactional licensing scheme is used, "would seem to require that an intellectual property lawyer be posted at each copy machine," id. at ___. Our ruling does not consider photocopying for personal use by an individual. Our ruling is confined to the institutional, systematic, archival multiplication of copies revealed by the record -- the precise copying that the parties stipulated should be the basis for the District Court's decision now on appeal and for which licenses are in fact available. And the claim that lawyers need to be stationed at copy machines is belied by the ease with which music royalties have been collected and distributed for performances at thousands of cabarets, without the attendance of intellectual property lawyers in any capacity other than as customers. If Texaco wants to continue the precise copying we hold not to be a fair use, it can either use the licensing schemes now existing or some variant of them, or, if all else fails, purchase one more subscription for each of its researchers who wish to keep issues of Catalysis on the office shelf.

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (1)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253067)

Same applies to online financial reports and such. One banking client I supported had a user who was always asking us how to "copy" a page into Word - when asked why - she would always say "I want to include it in a report I am writing!" We would try to explain that was tantamount to photocopying articles from magazines and including that in a report, but she never quite seemed to grasp the fact that just cause it was on her screen did not mean she could not do whatever she wanted with it. DOH!

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253143)

Most of the time you only need a few copies, for a team or whatever. You then go to Factiva, Nexis or Dialog and purchase a contract - covers most news - and you are good. You can get and share articles for up to...10-20 people. Shoot, it is even possible to get enterprise wide contracts for these services.

Now, sure. You might want a 500 reprints of an article. But if this comes up a lot, then you need to turn to one of the news aggregation services - and pay the costs.

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253367)

In the UK you'd go to the Copyright Licensing Agency [cla.co.uk] . This concept isn't news. The CLA was founded a quarter of a century ago.

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253441)

If anyone can photocopy the news without permission, it becomes harder for the newspaper to recover its costs.

Instead of lecturing us on our moral responsibility to help random companies recover their costs, why not tell us why people in a business shouldn't be able to read news articles owned by that business?

Re:So don't photocopy articles... (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253543)

I'm glad you posted it, and glad you have been modded insightful. not everyone is taken in by the 'information should be free' bullshit that permeates slashdot. some of us appreciate that all content is produced by someone, and most of it is done by people trying to pay the bills, and that includes journalists.

Problem with COPYING not LINKING?? (3, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252829)

TFA doesn't have the specifics, but I am willing to guess that the problem was that the accused was copying the text of articles from site and redistributing that, not passing on the link to the story.

Why the important difference? Copying and redistributing would deny the news publisher of whatever ad revenue they would receive when the reader went directly to their site (and subsequently were served the ads). Something similar could be said about a newspaper/magazine clipping.

Something like this is, of course, all about money, so my speculation is that the causation is the loss of ad revenue.

I wouldn't mind ... except (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253071)

When Articles are written .... Next Page ... in a format .... Next Page .... where a single article ..... Next Page .... appears spread across ..... Next Page .... several pages with .... Next Page .... more ads than .... Next Page .... content on each .... Next Page .... page. .... Next Page .... or a horribly .... Next Page .... formated for ..... Next Page .... printer version. .... Next Page

Re:Problem with COPYING not LINKING?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253075)

Somewhere in there is a joke about the (L)GPL... Unfortunately I am not clever enough to find it :(

Keywords (1)

Zekasu (1059298) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252879)

Never before have I seen more accurate tags for a /. article pertainent to a lawsuit. "money, copyrights, greed"

forward to your friends! (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252895)

I haven't read the article, but I've forwarded it to my friends!

Typically inaccurate headline (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252941)

This: "Firm's marketing group distributed press packets to employees containing newspaper and magazine articles under copyright "

...does not equal this: "Share a News Story With Coworkers, Pay a Fine"

Bang-up reporting as usual, kdawson. Do you possess even rudimentary reading comprehension skills?

You're missing the point (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253259)

The sensationalist headlines aren't because kdawson is stupid. What receives more comments- an article titled "Company Busted for Wide-Scale Copyright Infringement" or "Share a News Story With Coworkers, Pay a Fine"? More comments= more readers= means more ads viewed= more money. Only losers who care more about facts than emotional response want accurate titles.

xxxA acronym club (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#20252983)

RIAA, MPAA, SIIA. What is it with these guys and the 4-letter acronyms?

Re:xxxA acronym club (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253265)

Stinkin' NASA...

My Solution: (1)

noc007 (633443) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253095)

Just e-mail the link to the article. They even get their advertising space too.

Personally I don't like it when someone copies and pastes the article and e-mails it to me; usually it's just crap. Also, the formatting gets all whacked and sometimes they don't include all the pages. Everybody wins when sending the link; they get their advertising space and the recipient can determine right off if it's crap.

Time to ban enforcement by trade groups (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253277)

Especially trade groups that specialize in enforcement. If it's bad enough for the copyright holder to bring a claim, then let them do it. But these Gambini-esque trade groups are making a living off the money they're extorting from companies and individuals.

It's like letting the mafia enforce the speed limit.

but where's the beef? (1)

akahige (622549) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253363)

There's obviously more to this story than was in TFA.

Points that need clarification:
1) The entire point of press packets is to disseminate information, some elements of which are expected to be under copyright because press packets typically contain articles and extracts of articles from many different sources. TFA doesn't indicate if Knowledge Networks was duplicating these press packs on their own dime, or what...
2) As other people have pointed out, the headline on the /. story doesn't have anything to do with the actual content of the article.
3) This is an out of court settlement, not a fine, and not a legal judgement against. KN obviously weighed their options under advise of counsel and determined that it would be quicker and cheaper in the long run to make this issue go away with a little cash and some "education classes" than to let it go to litigation. Going to court is usually the last place anyone wants to wind up, and $300k can disappear in a hurry when you're being billed out $400 / hr.


InfoWorld? got a credible source. (1)

Filter (6719) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253379)

Anyone got a link to a credible source?

I'm so telling (2, Funny)

greymond (539980) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253419)

SIIA learned about the situation through a confidential tip, the trade group said. The person who reported Knowledge Networks will receive a $6,000 reward.
Sweet, I wish someone would do this at my work so I could tell on them.

Perhaps I'm missing something (3, Interesting)

nevali (942731) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253617)

I'm not sure how this could be illegal.

A company is a single legal entity, right? (Okay, we'll ignore subsidaries and parents for the moment, let's just "yes").

If this was an individual, buying a magazine and then photocopying pages--but not distributing them--there wouldn't be a snowball in hell's chance of a case.

The parallel applies: the company wasn't redistributing articles; despite the spurious use of "distributing", "making copies available only within the company" is not distribution in the copyright sense. It created copies, and gave them to itself.

Even in the software world there's nothing legally preventing you from this (you might be prevented through license terms from using--or even installing--more than one copy simultaneously, but there's nothing stopping you from making the copy in the first place).

Had this gone to court, I'd be surprised if the outcome had gone the same way.

Well, it serves them right... (1)

drakaan (688386) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253641)

Cow-orkers aren't to be trusted, I mean the damage they do to livestock *alone* is just terrib...

oh..."co-workers"...nevermind.

$6,000 reward (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253649)

SIIA learned about the situation through a confidential tip, the trade group said. The person who reported Knowledge Networks will receive a $6,000 reward.

I bet that was Anonymous Coward. He gets around.

Uh Oh (2, Insightful)

a_guy_in_a_van_down_ (1143651) | more than 7 years ago | (#20253733)

I just showed a co-worker a newspaper article from my local town...i'm in deep trouble now ;-) Somtimes things just get out of hand. Where does it end?

Copyright applies to print also (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20253791)

By this same logic, letting some one else read my newspaper is also illegal.

Where is the line drawn? I'd tell you all about the funny show I watched last night, but that would violate their copyrights.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?