Texaco, Publishers Agree to Settle Copyright Case
Texaco and a steering committee representing a group of 83 publishers
announced on May 15 that they have agreed upon terms to settle a
long-standing copyright case. The case, American Geophysical Union et
al v. Texaco Inc., was initially brought by 6 U.S. and European
publishers in 1985 on behalf of a class of publishers of scientific and
technical journals that are registered with the Copyright Clearance
Center. The Federal District Court in New York ruled in 1992 that
photocopying of individual journal articles by or for employees of
for-profit companies such as Texaco in the course of their work is not
"fair use." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1994
upheld the lower court decision. In April, Texaco petitioned the U.S.
Supreme Court to review the case.
Over the past several years, ARL and 14 other academic and
library organizations have joined together to submit amicus, or friend
of the court, briefs in this case to elucidate and reaffirm the fair use
rights that the Copyright law prescribes for scholars and researchers in
the pursuit of research and education. ARL's interest in this case
reflects the association's long-standing position as an advocate of the
public interest in copyright, and in maintaining a balance between the
rights of the copyright owner and the rights of the user.
Texaco, which conceded no wrongdoing in the proposed settlement,
will pay a seven figure settlement and retroactive licensing fee to the
CCC. In addition, Texaco will enter into standard annual license
agreements with the CCC during the next five years. The settlement is
subject to the approval of the entire group of publishers and the court.
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