Thursday, June 3, 2010

Copyright Education: A FedEx Kinko's Case Study

Wake up class. It is time for some more copyright education.

Does everyone remember our previous lesson? It was about a KODAK photo printing kiosk that I found in a Target store. This time, our case study is from a FedEx Kinko printing store where Shannon was printing some resumes. Reviewing the KODAK case study will help significantly in today's case study.

Ok class. Let's begin.

This notice is next to a computer.

Copyright Law Notice:
The Copyright Law of the U.S. (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted works. A computer program or software protected by copyright may not be copied without the authorization of the copyright owner, except that a copy may be made in accordance with §117 of the Copyright Law for backup purposes for protection in the event that the original software malfunctions. FedEx Kinko's Office and Printing Services, Inc. does not authorize the use for this computer of the reproduction of copyrighted software other than allowed under §117. The person using this machine is responsible for and would be liable for any infringement. Our primary objective is to take care of your needs. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and cooperation in complying with the FedEx Kinko's copying policy.
Who can spot the first sentence with a false statement? Well, it is the second sentence.
A computer program or software protected by copyright may not be copied without the authorization of the copyright owner, except that a copy may be made in accordance with §117 of the Copyright Law for backup purposes for protection in the event that the original software malfunctions.
Like last time, copying software can be legal by fair use. Specifically, the two (court approved) fair uses are
  • modification of copyright software for personal use (Galoob v. Nintendo) and
  • making copies in the course of is a fair use, when it is the only way to get access to the "ideas and functional elements" in the copyrighted code, and when "there is a legitimate reason for seeking such access" (Sega v. Accolade).
The second reason that the sentence is wrong is similar to last time. Even if the copyright owner does not "authorize" the copying of their software, it is still legal to do so if the copyright of the software says that it is legal to copy the software. The most popular software copyright with this property is the GPL.

You might be wondering, "why would the copyright owner copyright their software under a copyright like the GPL if they do not authorize copying?" The easiest explanation for this is that the copyright owner changed their mind, such as when the copyright is sold to another party.

There are no more factual errors in this copyright notice, but there is an interesting contradiction yet to be discussed.
FedEx Kinko's Office and Printing Services, Inc. does not authorize the use for this computer of the reproduction of copyrighted software other than allowed under §117. ... Our primary objective is to take care of your needs.
If the "primary objective" of FedEx Kinko is to serve their customers, then they would allow there customers to do any legal activities (such as copying GPL'ed software or copying any software for fair use).

This sign was next to a location where someone would connect a laptop.

The Copyright Law:
The Copyright Law of the U.S. (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted works.

The Person using the reproduction equipment is liable for any infringement.

For more information on the laws regarding copyrights contact the United States Copyright Office at 202.707.3000.

The FedEx Kinko's policy requires written permission from the copyright holder in order to reproduce any copyrighted works.

Our primary objective is to take care of your needs. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and cooperation in complying with the FedEx Kinko's copying policy. Thank you for your business.

Please see a FedEx Kinko's team member to obtain a Copyright Permission Request form.
It is the prerogative of FedEx Kinko to stipulate what services the do and do not offer, but their "primary objective" is certainly not "taking care of your needs" if they burden you by requiring you to go above and beyond what is required by law in order to create a legal reproduction of a copyrighted work.

With such taxing requirements to carrying out a legal activity, it is clear that FedEx Kinko is "primarily" concerned for copyright holders and only secondarily concerned for their customers.

5 comments:

  1. The one thing you do not understand is that FedEx has been sued many times in the past and present for copy infringement. FedEx has adopted a stricter policy than the copyright law lays out to protect themselves. As for them not "taking care of your needs"... The burden of requiring you to obtain the copyright release IS your responsibility. It is NOT their job to obtain it for you. You want the copy\print? Do the work to have the right to copy it.

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    1. yes they did this to me today I need the heads shots of the new ghostbusters about the size of an id pic for the the old ghostbusters rpg from westend games well fuck fedex they have lost me for a customer

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  2. "You want the copy\print? Do the work to have the right to copy it."

    As I said, copying for fair use is both legal and does not require a written statement, so if the "primary objective" of FedEx is "taking care of my needs", then written permission should not *always* be required.

    For example, FedEx could make my copies after having me sign a document saying that while I do not have written permission from the copyright holder, I do believe my copying is covered by fair use.

    "The one thing you do not understand is that FedEx has been sued many times in the past and present for copy infringement. FedEx has adopted a stricter policy than the copyright law lays out to protect themselves."

    If so, then the second sign should say "our primary objective is not be a defendant of a copyright law suit and our second objective is taking care of your needs."

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  3. no the we are ass holes who are job scread and can only help you if it wont get us fired and sued

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  4. They wouldn't print a print-n-play game, for christ sake. I won'y be using them anymore.

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