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Law Firm Sued for Copyright Infringement

Be very cautious in duplicating copyrighted materials.

• A Washington, D.C. law firm that routinely made three copies of a weekly newsletter for distribution to attorneys in the firm was sued recently by the newsletter publisher for $14 million. The publisher of the newsletter is claiming "statutory damages" for copyright infringement. The law firm purchased one subscription of the newsletter at an annual cost of $675. It then allegedly made three copies of each issue that it distributed to firm members. The law firm is defending its actions on the basis of "fair use." The Copyright Act permits owners of copyrighted material to engage in the "fair use" of such material. However, the concept of fair use is a narrow one that should not be viewed as a form of blanket authorization to duplicate copyrighted materials. In determining whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is a "fair use," four factors ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1991

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