The challenge of protecting copyright materials

Organizations that purchase copyrighted material are legally bound to protect the content from unauthorized use. When purchased in a physical format, libraries take precautions to ensure that copiers are not used to illegally reproduce content. When content is purchased in a digital form the ability to make one unauthorized copy could mean there are thousands of unauthorized copies. This exposes organizations to significant liability if the content owners determine that there was a violation of the copyright.

To ensure that digital content was protected from unauthorized use Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea implemented persistent content security from  Persistent file security allows the library to apply specific rights to individual copyright files. The rights may take the form of a limited number of views, timeframe in which the file can be opened, screen capture restrictions, printing restrictions and physical locations where the file can be accessed.

Content owners are aggressively pursuing organizations that knowingly or unknowingly violate copyright laws. A school district in New York copied two pages from a professional book and included it in a district curriculum guide. The author found out about it and sued. The district settled out of court for $40,000. Another district was sued by Disney for using homemade copies of cartoon characters. A school district in Texas purchased a single copy of a high-stakes assessment workbook for each grade level, and then sent the copies to the district print shop. The print shop duplicated a copy for each student in the district. The copyright owner found out, and sued the district, alleging $7 million in damages. Bottom line – protect copyright materials like they were your own!


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