Copyright Infringement and Its Remedy
Although imitation is said to be the highest form of flattery, outright theft of intellectual property is a less welcome accolade.
MTI has invested over 25 years and tens of thousands of dollars in the development of the Managing Differences Seminar Series and in the videos, PowerPoint files, Participant Workbooks, and other tangible attributes of the seminar resources — $13,000 in 2004 for the production of a new video alone.
So, we diligently protect this investment by vigorous application of the Universal Copyright Convention. Consider this scenario.
With very few exceptions, Certified Trainers (CTs) recognize Dana Mediation's considerable investment and appreciate the benefits they enjoy by having licensed use of these protected resources in accordance with the Licensing Agreement. (CTs please review permittted use of protected material.)
Sadly, however, we have discovered that a few CTs (active and inactive), as well as some individuals who have never even attended a Certification Course and who have acquired access second-hand, do not share the majority's ethics and honesty. We also recognize that some offenders may simply be ignorant of intellectual property protections provided by law, and do not realize they are committing a legal offense.
Therefore, we find it necessary to implement a policy to prevent unethical, illegal, and inadvertent violations of copyrights that protect Dana Mediation's intellectual property:
Investigation: We first determine whether Dana Mediation's intellectual property has been improperly used. In the case of internal CTs, and the organizations who employ them, the employer may bear legal liability for violations.
Notification: We inform apparent offenders if evidence of copyright infringement is discovered. If violation is on-going, offenders will be asked to immediately cease and to compensate Dana Mediation for losses resulting from misuse of intellectual property.
Mediation: If the alleged offender poses a plausible rebuttal to Dana Mediation's allegation of copyright infringement, we will engage in interest-based communication in search of resolution.
Public notice: If satisfactory resolution is not reached, a notice of decertification of the CT will be posted on the main Certified Trainer Directory. View this sample notice of decertification, or click North Dakota on the CT Directory map. In the case of offenders who were never certified as trainers of Dana Mediation's seminars, other forms of public notice of copyright violation will be issued.
Legal action: If mediation and public notice prove unsuccessful, legal action may be pursued to recover damages and to deter other offenders.
Actions toward other offenders: Other violators, including seminar participants other than Certified Trainers, will be addressed by means of a similar process as outlined above.
Permitted use and copyright waiver: Written permission may be granted to use specifically defined passages or portions of protected material. Requesters are asked to send email to email@example.com containing precise definition of material requested; purpose, scope, and duration of its requested use; and name and complete contact information of the individual or organization requesting copyright waiver.
Scope of protected material: Protected property includes all text, images, video, and other identifiable material contained in seminar support materials, books, and instructional aids, as well as the content of this website. See this copyright statement.
A scenario to illustrate the problem:
Let's say you spent several years researching and writing a book, which now enjoys some success and upon whose sales you depend for your livelihood.
Pat purchases a copy of your book and finds its contents useful. Pat believes that, although there are many good ideas in your book, some of it could be improved upon and, besides, would like to add his/her "personal touch" to the material. Furthermore, Pat believes that publishing and selling the book, with his/her improvements, might be a source of income.
So, Pat rewrites (improves) portions of your book, retitles it, publishes it under his/her name as the author, and puts it on the market. Some customers discover Pat's edition, and not yours, and purchase it before they learn that yours exists. Other customers learn of both Pat's and your editions, but purchases Pat's because it is less costly (less costly perhaps because Pat doesn't have to recover the investment of years of research and writing that you made). Still other customers who learn of both editions compare the two and like the changes that Pat has made to your original edition, and so buys Pat's.
Would you mind?
You are intrigued by the financial success of McDonald's restaurants and consider purchasing a franchise. But, you are daunted by the $700,000 investment required to gain legal access to the brand name, other intellectual property the company owns, and the reputation and public awareness it has developed over the past forty years.
So, you decide to establish your own independent enterprise. You call it "McDavid's", use blue arches instead of yellow, and sell McNoogies instead of McNuggets. You believe you have created your own business, and that you have earned the right to operate your restaurant without obligation to McDonald's.
Would McDonald's agree? Do you think it should?
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