Networked general contractor settles safety newsletter piracy case

Source: Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), Washington, D.C.

Acting on behalf of Cal-OSHA Reporter publisher Providence Publications LLC, SIIA has settled copyright infringement claims against Harbison-Mahony-Higgins Builders, Inc. (HMH Builders), a subsidiary of major general contractor Swinerton & Walberg Co.

A Sacramento-based general contractor, HMH Builders admittedly purchased a single subscription of the Reporter—a newsletter covering California occupational health and safety—and, without a license, electronically copied and redistributed it to hundreds of employees over a period of years. The company, however, claimed that fewer than 10 employees read each edition.

“HMH Builders is a respectable company that put itself at significant risk by copying and distributing content it did not own,” said SIIA Chief Litigation Counsel and Director of Internet Anti-Piracy Scott Bain. “Copyright infringement can do serious damage to content companies, and we are aggressive in going after violators. Whether companies don’t take copyright infringement seriously, or they’re trying to cut costs, they are subjecting themselves to serious consequences. The bottom line is that it’s essential to secure proper licenses before redistributing content, even if you’re just sending it around internally.”

SIIA handled the case through an arrangement with the Specialized Information Publishers Association, of which Providence Publications is a member. Through its Corporate Content Anti-Piracy Program, SIIA targets content copyright infringement taking place by or within an organization. Content includes text-based publications like articles in newspapers, magazines and newsletters, books—whether in traditional print or made available online.