Piracy: Not just for music lovers anymore

Has a professor ever sent you down to a copy center that first day of class to pick up a course packet? Well, those little bundles are not taken lightly. Information copied and sold without the permission of the author can be expensive. Violation of copyright law can set a perpetrator back as much as $30,000, though this does not stop all professors – especially those trying to save their students money.

According to the PSU Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP), faculty members are expected to obtain copyright clearance before copying materials for class use. The office’s Web site makes this clear:

“A faculty member who makes use of a copy service to produce, without permission, a course packet for use at Portland State University will be doing so in explicit violation of university policy and will be subject to both legal liabilities and appropriate disciplinary action.”

Both the PSU Bookstore and Clean Copy obtain copyright clearance for professors before putting together packets. Smart Copy requires the professor to obtain permission and bring in proof before it will print.

Though the process is typically time-consuming – it can take up to eight weeks – it’s worth it.

Kinko’s suffered a blow in 1991 when it lost a lawsuit against several major New York City publishing houses. The houses alleged copyright infringement after the copy center copied excerpts without permission and sold the information, compiled into course packets, to students. This case is what prompted PSU’s policy. The full text of PSU’s Copyrighted Print Media Materials Use Policy can be found on the Web at www.gsr.pdx.edu/rsp/policies/copyright.html.