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GWI marketing manager Alison Ireland explains how to keep out of copyright trouble.

Before Christmas I spent some time in Florida attending a marketing conference designed to teach me how to make you even more aware of and even more impressed by all our publications. (With this in mind, please do look on the back cover for details of our new report, Water Market Asia which is now available to order). Paul Desmond of financial newsletter publisher Lowry’s Reports was one of the speakers. The company is famous for the Lowry’s v Legg Mason copyright case. Legg Mason had posted Lowry’s newsletter on its firm intranet, and systematically circulated electronic copies throughout the company. Their argument that what occurred was a good faith mistake by low-level employees caught up in a technological transition carried no weight. The courts disagreed. Lowry’s were awarded just under $20 million for breach of copyright.

Quite understandably, this case is supposed to strike fear into the hearts of newsletter subscribers worldwide. I remember a couple of years ago, shortly after we took over the publishing of GWI, I sent out a link to the Lowry’s story along with the PDF of GWI. This elicited a barrage of response varying in tone between terrified (‘Is it okay for my secretary to open the envelope? She only sees the front cover . . .’), angry (‘But we’ve always forwarded GWI to our 700 international offices!) and defensive (‘How dare you suggest our firm would do anything underhand . . . ’).

To avoid any trouble of this kind in the GWI community, I thought I would take this opportunity to clarify our copyright policy. A single subscription to GWI, costing £695, is a single-site subscription. This means that the PDF version can be circulated to the people who would be able to read the hard copy without it being posted – people in the same office. We are happy to add colleagues in this location to the GWI PDF distribution list so that they receive the issue immediately on publication. However, forwarding the PDF to other locations, or making the content in any way accessible to other, non-subscribing offices is a breach of our copyright. Access to the website works in the same way: staff in the subscribing location may share the login details or even have their own – but these must not be passed on to other locations.

The good news is that if three or more offices worldwide are interested in reading GWI each month or using the website, we can offer a Multi-Site Licence package at an attractive rate, while subtracting the value of any existing subscriptions – contact me directly for details: