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8/16/2007
12:06 PM
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SIIA Announces First Content Piracy Settlement

Knowledge Networks copied and distributed press clippings to its employees. Now that decision will cost the company $300,000 to settle copyright infringement claims.

The Software & Information Industry Association announced the first settlement in its Corporate Content Anti-Piracy Program (CCAP) Thursday.

SIIA said Knowledge Networks agreed to pay $300,000 to settle copyright infringement claims. The company also agreed to work with SIAA to create an internal program educating executives and professionals on copyright compliance and licensing.

"Knowledge Networks is a reputable company that made a very costly mistake," SIIA lawyer Scott Bain said in a prepared statement. "We are pleased with the settlement and hope that it alerts other users of copyrighted content such as newspaper articles, magazine articles, newsletters, newswire services, and financial reports to the importance of securing proper licenses, even for internal copying and distribution."

Knowledge Networks is a market research company. SIAA said it distributed "press packets" internally to some employees on a regular basis. SIAA said the packets sometimes included copyrighted articles owned by its members, including the Associated Press, Reed Elsevier, and United Press International.

SIIA said a tipster whose information initiated the investigation will receive a reward of $6,000. Knowledge Networks acknowledged disseminating "copies of relevant newspaper and magazine articles" but said it was "in the good faith belief that it was lawful to do so."

"We now understand that that practice may violate the copyright rights of those publications," the company said in a prepared statement. "We regret that those violations may have occurred and we are pleased that this matter has now been resolved."

Knowledge Networks agreed to send staff members to SIIA's Certified Content Rights Manager (CCRM) course to learn about compliance and content licensing.

Keith Kupferschmid, SVP of Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement for SIIA said "companies that copy or distribute content without the proper licenses are putting themselves at significant risk -- not only financially, but also to their reputation in the business community."

"Sooner or later, companies that pirate content are going to get caught," he said. "That's when they discover that their choice -- which they thought would cut expenses -- has ended up as a very costly business decision."

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