Computer training firms settle copyright case

 

AN ALLEGATION of copyright breach by Jefferson Computer Ltd over computer training material produced by Bua Training has been settled in the Circuit Court in Dublin.

The settlement before Judge Joseph Matthews yesterday asserted that the plaintiff, Bua, owned the material and set a five-week deadline for the terms of the agreement to be completed. The full settlement details are confidential and were not disclosed to the court.

The case is believed to be one of the first involving copyright infringement of material published on a website in the State.

Bua claimed copyright over the content of one of its computer training courses which it published online.

It said the material constituted a “literary work” because of the time and effort Bua had invested to develop the course beyond existing training programmes.

Bua claimed material published in February 2003 on a website operated by Jefferson appeared to have been copied directly from the Bua website and that following a complaint, much, but not all, of the material had been removed.

Judge Matthews said the two training courses appeared to be identical in format, layout and structure. “One appears to be borrowing from the other.”

Senior counsel for Jefferson Conor Kearney told the court that many of the terms used in the disputed material were generic and the plaintiffs had no rights to this material under legislation.

Bua senior counsel John Healy said his clients had suffered material losses as a result, having suffered a slowdown in their business while the disputed material appeared on the Jefferson website, although, he said, the extent of this loss would be difficult to quantify.

Mr Healy noted that the defendants had treated the disputed material on their website as important and protectable and had marked it with a copyright symbol.