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October 9, 1972

The Photocopy Conundrum

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif

JAMA. 1972;222(2):211-212. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210020057020

To the Editor.—  The EDITORIAL, "Photocopying and Communication in the Health Sciences" (220:1357, 1972) comments on the litigation filed in 1968 by the Williams and Wilkins Company, publishers of 37 medical and scientific journals, against the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), alleging that photocopying of articles in these journals is an infringement of copyright. As noted in the EDITORIAL, the Commissioner of the United States Court of Claims, in February 1972, "ruled that Williams and Wilkins clearly had grounds for complaint, that photocopying diminishes its potential market, and that the company is entitled to compensation."The EDITORIAL conjures up several specters. Implicit in the EDITORIAL, and explicit in the arguments advanced by the defendants, is the fear that this decision will restrict photocopying and impede the free flow and dissemination of scientific information. The Chairman of the Board of Williams and Wilkins has