New System Makes It Easy to Report Copyright Infringement

Submit a form or send an e-mail to flag misused IEEE content

19 April 2013

Anyone spotting unauthorized use of IEEE’s intellectual property on a website or blog has always been encouraged to report it. And doing so is now much easier by completing an online form found in the IEEE Xplore digital library or simply by sending an e-mail to infringement@ieee.org.

IEEE’s IP can be infringed upon in a number of ways. For example, IEEE conference or journal papers and standards can be posted without authorization, or the IEEE name or logo can be misused. IEEE’s legal and compliance department, along with marketing, sales, and product design review each report of infringement. If they decide IEEE’s IP is being misused, the legal department sends the website’s owner a notice asking that the content be removed.

Fortunately, most of IEEE-copyrighted content is displayed in accordance with IEEE’s author posting policy. This allows authors to repost the accepted, but not the published, versions of their work on their personal or institutional Web pages. Authors must, however, include a link to the published paper in IEEE Xplore. Authors can also request permission to reuse portions of IEEE content by using RightsLink, an online service that provides licenses for IEEE-copyrighted material.

In 2012 alone, unauthorized IEEE content was removed from nearly 40 websites and 20 blogs. And misuse of the content is on the rise, according to Jon Wiggins, the legal department’s attorney specializing in IP. “Advances in technology and increased production of high-quality IEEE content have made infringement a more pressing problem,” he says. “We realized we could not detect all instances of piracy by ourselves—we needed help from the larger IEEE community.”

In addition to the new reporting system, the department uses various alert services and relies on reports from other members of the publishing community. It also uses Attributor/Digimarc digital content protection software. This scans hundreds of millions of Web pages daily to find unauthorized reposting of IEEE content, and sends take-down messages to the website owners on behalf of IEEE.

Additionally, the IP Misuse Strategy team, which includes staff members from various IEEE departments, was formed last year to find new ways to protect IEEE intellectual property.

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