By: James Swain (www.jimswain.com)
Question: It sounds like security is important issue.
Bob Smith: Absolutely. There has always been an issue of test security. People who steal tests are not only costing us money, but they’re also harming the industry and depriving the test authors of royalties. Having a stolen test floating around is potentially quite harmful.
Question: It’s not easy to stop people from stealing, especially in the Internet age. What steps are you taking to stop people from pirating your company’s material?
Cathy Smith: We have two employees who regularly surf the web, looking for people who are reproducing our content without permission. They’ve gotten very good at catching these folks and getting them to delete any of our content off their Web sites.
Bob Smith: On every order we send out, there’s a statement on our Order Form that says the Customer agrees to abide by the rules and not reproduce our products without written permission.
Question: How do you deal with someone who you catch stealing PAR products?
Bob Smith: Usually, a letter or phone call asking them to stop will do. Most people ultimately want to do the right thing.
Question: What if it doesn’t?
Bob Smith: We have hired attorneys in numerous situations to protect our copyrights, and we will continue to do so.
Question: Recently, a student at Harvard was prosecuted for downloading and sharing music files. A noted law professor at Harvard defended him in court and used the argument that the Internet is meant to be a free medium, and therefore cannot be controlled. The student lost the case, and is now on the hook for $400,000 in damages. How do you feel about that?
Bob Smith: I agree with the verdict. The student was stealing.
Question: What would you say to someone who was thinking of pirating your company’s material or tests?
Bob Smith: Don’t do it. Our products are very useful and they are valuable products that are used to help people make better decisions. By infringing on the copyright, you could help to invalidate the measure, causing harm not only to the instrument, but to the test publishing industry, the authors, and most importantly, to the client/patient.
PAR’s position is that Customers may not release copyrighted and confidential material to individuals not professionally qualified to obtain, review, or interpret them. PAR’s instruments are trade secrets protected by intellectual property laws, including copyright and trade secret laws. Their usefulness and validity would be greatly compromised if they were available to the general public.
Cathy Smith: All materials in our catalog and on our Web site are protected by copyright. This applies to all Web site information, testing products, and everything associated with them.
Submitting a completed PAR Qualification Form and/or placing an order to purchase materials from PAR implies your acceptance of these terms and conditions.
Question: Do you allow your tests to be rented?
Bob Smith: No, our products are not for rent. We do encourage the use of our proprietary tests in research projects. However, we require that a formal written permission agreement be obtained from PAR prior to beginning the work if a modified version or only a portion of test is needed.
Question: It sounds like you run a pretty tight ship.
Bob Smith: It has always been this way in this industry. Test products must be kept secure. Our products are highly restricted and will stay that way.