BYU ScenicBYU ScenicBYU ScenicBYU ScenicBYU Scenic

The Copyright Licensing Office (CLO) provides assistance, services, tools, and resources to the faculty, staff, and students of Brigham Young University to successfully navigate the challenging landscape of copyright.

Mission

The mission of the BYU Copyright Licensing Office is to ensure compliance with copyright laws by providing education and training, assuring effective licensing practices, resolving unauthorized use of copyright protected materials, and remaining current with copyright law and policy developments.

BYU Copyright Decision Trail

Click here to use our interactive tool designed to help you make informed copyright decisions.

Copyright Videos

Watch our copyright videos here.

* indicates required

Subscribe to our mailing list

I am a(n):

Latest News

View All →
Mar 27, 2017

Publisher Exceeding Limited Licenses

Stack v. McGraw-Hill, 17-cv-01689 (S.D. N.Y.); Greenberg v. McGraw-Hill, 17-cv-00436 (E.D. Pa.); Grant Heilman Photography, Inc. v. McGraw-Hill, 12-cv-02061 (E.D. Pa.)
By Tyron Jensen

On March 7, 2017, Thomas Stack filed a copyright infringement suit against the McGraw-Hill publishing company. This is the latest of many, almost identical, cases filed against McGraw-Hill in the past few years. Stack, a professional photographer, alleges that McGraw-Hill copied and distributed Stack’s copyrighted photographs “without authorization or license and/or in excess of any limited authorization or license they allegedly obtained.”

Stack alleges that McGraw-Hill obtained licenses for the use of a number of his photographs in a number of different textbooks. The licenses were expressly limited by the number of copies, distribution area, language, duration, and media. McGraw-Hill allegedly “routinely violated the express restrictions and limits” authorized by Stack. Stack’s allegations fall in line with a number of allegations common to the host of complaints filed against McGraw-Hill recently, the allegations include:

a. printing or distributing more copies of the Photographs than authorized;

b. distributing publications containing the Photographs outside the authorized distribution area;

c. publishing the Photographs in electronic, ancillary, or derivative publications without permission;

d. publishing the Photographs in international editions and foreign publications without permission; and

e. publishing the Photographs beyond the specified time limits.

Stack alleges, similar to the plaintiffs before him, that McGraw-Hill has been able to keep these infringing practices concealed because they keep information regarding its publications and photograph use confidential.  The first cases brought against McGraw-Hill for this type of complaint arose when McGraw-Hill voluntarily sent payments to copyright holders for use in excess of their limited licenses.

In September 2014, a District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held a bellwether trial for a fraction of infringement claims brought by Grant Heilman Photography Inc. (GHPI) against McGraw-Hill. The court allowed discovery for 30 of the over 2000 claims – 24 chosen by GHPI and 6 chosen by McGraw-Hill. A jury found McGraw-Hill had infringed GHPI’s copyrights and awarded McGraw-Hill pay $127,087.00. The Court later amended the amount to $64,634.00. McGraw-Hill later conceded liability for an additional 1,092 claims of infringement and agreed to a confidential settlement agreement. This minitrial and settlement agreement appears to have opened the gates for the suits filed since.

FedEx case dismissed

Great Minds v. FedEx, 16-CV-1462 (E.D.N.Y. 2016)
By Tyron Jensen

Great Minds produces educational materials used by schools across the country. Great Minds make some of these materials available under a “Creative Commons Attribution – NonCommercial – Share Alike 4.0 International Public License.” The license grants licensees (schools) use of Great Minds materials “for NonCommercial purposes only.” Great Minds discovered that schools have been using FedEx stores to make copies of the materials.  Great Minds alleged that because FedEx was charging more than their costs to make the copies, the materials were being used for an unauthorized “commercial use.” For a summary of the case click here.

FedEx moved for the case to be dismissed asserting that “the complaint rests upon the mistaken premise that the school district that Great Minds explicitly licenses to reproduce its materials for educational use may not enlist FedEx to make those reproductions on their behalf. . . . The law is clear that a licensee may enlist others to help perform licensed activities. FedEx is doing just that. There is therefore no infringement.” Great Minds respond that FedEx “overlook[ed] that the License specifically limits it grant of rights to NonCommercial purposes only and specifically reserves any right to collect royalties when the Licensed Materials is used for other than NonCommercial purposes.”

The Court granted FedEx’s Motion to Dismiss reasoning that “A licensee to make and use is not (in the absence of specific language in the license) limited to making with his own hands, in his own shop, or by his own employees. He may employ, procure, or contract with as many persons as he chooses to supply him with that which he may lawfully use, provided such conduct does not change his relation to the licensor.” And concluded, “[i]n sum, the unambiguous terms of License permit FedEx to copy the Materials on behalf of a school district exercising rights under the License and charge that district for that copying at a rate more than FedEx’s cost, in that absence of any claim that the school district is using the Materials for other than a ‘non-Commercial purpose.’ The motion to dismiss is granted.”

Mar 13, 2017

University Sued Over Health Insurance Website Logo

Porkka v. University of South Florida, 17-cv-00245
By Tyron Jensen

On March 3, 2017, Antti Porkka filed a copyright infringement suit against the University of South Florida. In 1995, Porkka, a citizen of Finland, published a work of visual arts, “consisting of two unique vectored elements that abstractly depict the right and left half of the letter ‘H’.” Porkka alleges that USF made use of a “digitally identical … ‘H’ Logo.”

In response to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), USF started a “Navigator” program, to help enroll “Kids and Families” in the Health Insurance Marketplace. As part of the navigator program, USF used an “H” Logo, which Porkka alleges is substantially similar to his “H” Logo. In addition, Porkka alleges that USF “received revenue or profits as a direct result of their infringement” because USF “received remuneration for each person that they guided through the [Navigator program].” Porkka is seeking a permanent injunction from the use of the “H” logo, and monetary damages.