Two global publishers today announced the initiation of litigation against Kessler-Hancock Information Services, Inc., a document delivery service, and its president Brian J. Hancock, for unauthorized photocopying from the publishers' journals for resale to the service' s customers. The publishers are Elsevier Science B.V./Elsevier Science S.A. and John Wiley and Sons, Inc. The complaint, filed in federal district court in Boston, alleges that Kessler-Hancock solicits and fills orders for copies of copyrighted materials distributed by the publishers without the publishers' authorizations, and even collects purported copyright fees in connection with the copies without returning them to the copyright holders. Both of the publishers are major producers of scientific, technical and medical materials. "When an entity uses copyrighted materials without authorization and for its own profit-- and then misrepresents itself as returning royalties to rightsholders--that constitutes an unfair and misleading practice as well as copyright infringement," stated Mark Seeley, vice president and general counsel of Elsevier Science. The complaint includes counts of false advertising for the ways in which Kessler-Hancock represents its business practices. The matter is being coordinated by Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), the largest licenser of text reproduction rights in the world and a licensing agent for both publishers. CCC and its participating rightsholders provide licenses and permissions to many document delivery services and other users of copyrighted materials. In exchange, copyright royalties are collected and then distributed to the appropriate copyright holders. "Most businesses that use photocopies in the ordinary course of their everyday activities and obtain them through document delivery services expect that the people who produce the copyrighted materials, and not just the copy service, will be compensated for their intellectual property," said Frederic Haber, CCC's general counsel. "Rightsholders who seek to make the permissions process as convenient as possible use CCC to handle the transactions. All the infringed journals named in today's suit were available for permissions through CCC." "We will continue our ongoing compliance activities and will pursue through court action, as necessary, instances of infringement, " said Richard S. Rudick, Wiley's senior vice president and general counsel. "This complaint provides evidence of our efforts to ensure compliance by document delivery organizations, thereby defending our copyrights and helping to maintain a level playing field for those organizations interested in complying with copyright law."