|May 14, 2010|
|PRSA Charges Copyright Violation!|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Art Yann, VP-PR of the PR Society, yesterday accused O'Dwyer's of violating the Society's copyright on an embedded YouTube video about social media, demanding we remove it from our website "immediately."|
It's incredible that the Society should complain about one alleged violation of its copyright after that group sold more than 50,000 copies of O’Dwyer copyrighted articles without permission. (link, PDF)
Even worse, Yann’s charge proved to be false because what this site did was embed a PRSA video that was already on YouTube. This is standard practice. If a user clicked on the video once, the video played. If two clicks are used, the Society's YouTube website came up. The video was also identified as a PRSA video in copy introducing the clip.
Yann's complaint is the height of irony since the Society conducted massive theft of others’ intellectual property throughout most of the 1980s and the early 1990s until the O'Dwyer Co. exposed the practice.
Twelve authors whose works had been copied and sold hundreds of thousands of times, including entire chapters of textbooks, hired a law firm and investigated a lawsuit.
Big Legal Bills Deterred Authors
After conferring with some of the largest law firms in New York, the authors took the advice that fighting the Society in court would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars with no sure outcome because copyright law is so “murky.”
Three of the copied authors were professors who said their finances were limited.
Nevertheless, there is no question that the Society violated the copyrights of numerous authors for many years and made lots of money doing it.
Chair Gary McCormick and COO Bill Murray were in our offices March 19 to inform us that the Society had “chosen not to deal with us” but at the same time they refused to look at either of the two boxes of PRS-copied materials that we saved.
None of the copied articles have “Printed with Permission of Author” which is customary when permission is obtained. All of them were stamped with, “Please return to the PRS Information Center.” (See image for example of O'Dwyer's article included in the packets and click to enlarge.)
Society financial records indicated it was netting about $60,000 yearly in the later years by selling 3,800 packets a
Many members of the Society were able to read key articles from the O’Dwyer magazine and newsletter without paying the $225 price of the NL nor the $40 price of the magazine. This cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost subscription income.
Yann Rejects Use of Materials
Yann, told he was mistaken about his charge of copyright violation by the O’Dwyer Co., replied that because of the “editorial treatment” the O’Dwyer Co. gives the Society, it “cannot support the O’Dwyer Co.’s use of our video.”
Amazing! We are not to use a single editorial product of the Society (although we did not do improperly) even though the Society made large sums of money selling tens of thousands of copies of our editorial material.
We welcome a study of this by one of the Society task forces.
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