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Minnesota engineering firm settles copyright lawsuit

News | August 1, 2006 | By:

Interstate Geotechnical Engineering Inc. of Rosemount, Minn. has settled a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against it by ASFE/The Best People on Earth, a not-for-profit association of geoprofessional, environmental, and civil engineering firms.

According to ASFE Executive Vice President John P. Bachner, ASFE learned that Interstate had been making and distributing unauthorized copies of the copyrighted ASFE document, Important Information about Your Geotechnical Engineering Report.

“We have been genuinely dismayed by the number of engineering firms we’ve caught violating copyright law,” Bachner said. “Some of their CEOs claim the violations have been accidental, even though the copyright notice is plainly visible. In other cases, people have removed the copyright notice.”

Bachner said that ASFE has decided that the only effective way of dealing with the problem is to pursue violators aggressively. He said, “ASFE doesn’t want to sue anyone. When we have discovered professionals violating our copyright, we have offered them a settlement that requires them to join ASFE and enroll at least one principal in activities designed to enhance professionalism. Sometimes that approach is successful and sometimes it isn’t. In this case, it wasn’t.”

Established in 1969, ASFE (Associated Soil and Foundation Engineers, a name no longer used) develops programs, services, and materials its members apply to optimize their business practices and “prosper through professionalism.”

Members are professional firms that practice “earth engineering” and related applied sciences (e.g., geotechnical, environmental, and civil engineering; geology, biology, ecology, and archeology; infrastructure security; brownfields revitalization; construction and program management; and construction materials engineering and testing.

The technical activities of member firms must be under the full-time control of an individual who is legally and/or ethically bound to hold paramount public health, safety, and welfare. Individual memberships are available by invitation only.

Copyright 2006—ASFE. Reprinted with permission.

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