Publishers Sue Document Deliverers for Copyright Infringement

Dec 12, 2003

Five scientific, technical, and medical publishers (the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, Inc., Marcel Dekker, Inc., SAGE Publications, Inc., and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (a subsidiary of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), have filed copyright infringement suits against document deliverers Medical Review Services, headquartered in Katy, Texas, and LMS Information Services, headquartered in San Francisco, California. The publishers allege that both document deliverers routinely copied and distributed copyrighted articles without obtaining permission to reproduce the content. The publishers' complaints were coordinated by Copyright Clearance Center and recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  

While recent enforcement activities in the text publishing industry have focused on illegal coursepack distribution in the academic market, the new allegations against Medical Review Services and LMS Information Services highlight the illegal use of copyright-protected materials in the corporate environment. The new cases also illustrate the acceleration of copyright infringement enabled by digital technologies, as both defendants have been cited for unauthorized distribution of text content by email in PDF format.

Both LMS Information Services and Medical Review Services are document delivery vendors that make and supply copies of copyright-protected works from journal articles, book chapters, abstracts, and research materials to the corporate market for a profit. Organizations that reproduce copyrighted materials in print and digital formats for commercial gain are generally required to obtain permission to distribute those reproductions from articles, journals, and books, and pay royalty fees to the respective copyright holders as fair compensation. In these lawsuits, both document deliverers are charged with failing to obtain the rights to make and sell copies of high-value scientific, technical and medical articles and journals belonging to the plaintiffs. This lawsuit is being coordinated by Copyright Clearance Center as part of the company's ongoing enforcement and education programs that promote copyright compliance.

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