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Publishers File Suit Against Netpaks, Abels Copies and Speedway Copying

Press release from the issuing company

DANVERS, Mass.--Feb. 10, 2004-- Six leading publishers have filed a copyright infringement suit against Samuel Odunsi and Austin-based BISI Inc., the owners and operators of Netpaks, Abel's Copies and Speedway Copying. The University of Chicago Press, Princeton University Press, Elsevier Inc., Pearson Education Inc., John Wiley & Sons Inc. and SAGE Publications allege that these facilities routinely duplicated and distributed copyrighted materials without obtaining permission from the publishers directly or through Copyright Clearance Center. The publishers' complaint was filed recently in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin. While recent enforcement activities in the text publishing industry have focused on print coursepack distribution, the allegations against Odunsi include copyright infringement of electronic content. Netpaks, Abel's Copies and Speedway Copying are all located near the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Like many college-area copy shops, they engage in a substantial business selling coursepacks that typically include journal articles, excerpts from books, and other materials selected by course instructors as required reading for their classes. To comply with copyright law, copy shops must get permission to distribute the materials they reproduce and pay royalty fees to fairly compensate the respective copyright holders. Usually, this is done through Copyright Clearance Center, the copyright licensing and compliance company. In this situation, the suit alleges that not only were Abel's Copies and Speedway Copying illegally distributing print coursepacks, Netpaks offered online versions of the content without obtaining copyright permission. Both photocopy and electronic coursepacks were sold to students for a profit. "It makes no difference whether the content is reproduced and distributed as photocopies, or as digital copies accessed and transmitted via the World Wide Web," said Allan Adler, vice president for Legal and Governmental Affairs for the Association of American Publishers. "Businesses must recognize that permission is required for commercial distribution of copyright-protected content, regardless of format." The Association of American Publishers is the principal trade association for the U.S. book publishing industry. The protection of intellectual property rights is among the association's primary concerns. This lawsuit is being coordinated by Copyright Clearance Center as part of the company's ongoing enforcement and education programs that promote copyright compliance. A not-for-profit organization, 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 print and digital licensing solutions. Royalties collected are distributed to the publishers, authors or other copyright owners who have engaged Copyright Clearance Center as a rights licensing agent.