It may be time to add the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) to the list of ridiculous industry associations who are excessively focused on copyright to the detriment of their own businesses. The group, which includes a number of newspaper publishers as members, began an "anti-piracy" program recently and have announced its first "win." An analyst firm has agreed to pay up a $300,000 settlement
after an "insider" informed the SIIA that the firm passed around news clips to employees. This is very typical. Many companies employ news clipping services and receive copies of relevant news articles -- and often they pass those around to the appropriate people. However, it appears that various news publishers think that any company that does this should purchase a separate license. The reporter points out that many, many companies pass around news clips internally all the time, and an SIIA representative insists that's not true -- suggesting he has no idea what goes on in many companies. However, the key point is that this clearly does nothing to benefit these publishers. There are very few companies that will go through the trouble of actually licensing the individual news for the sake of passing them around. Instead, they'll either stop reading the clips altogether, or they'll simply go to the web, where it's free. Now, of course, it's worth pointing out that we at Techdirt provide original news analysis
(not clips) to plenty of companies all the time -- and part of our contract is that we encourage the companies to pass our content around to as many people internally as possible. We know that the more people who see our analysis, the more useful and valuable it becomes. So, for firms worried about the SIIA suing you because you pass around news clips, feel free to give us a call.