Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 11 December 2001
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CCH to Take Legal Action Against PIABA

CCH, Inc., a provider of legal information, software, and services, has announced that it will aggressively oppose and seek prompt legal resolution for an attempt by the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) to misappropriate, duplicate, and sell to PIABA members the proprietary and copyrighted SAC-CCH Awards Library, an electronic collection of securities arbitration awards. In addition, the Securities Arbitration Commentator, Inc. (SAC) of Maplewood, New Jersey, which developed the original content from which CCH created its proprietary electronic library, will join in supporting CCH's effort to prevent PIABA from violating the company's various state and federal statutory rights, including laws protecting intellectual property.

According to the announcement, CCH and SAC recently discovered that PIABA had set about formally and systematically to extract and duplicate for its own commercial use more than 26,000 arbitration-award documents and other information in a proprietary electronic format from the CCH product. PIABA accessed the data via the Internet portal of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), which licenses the SAC-CCH Awards Library and makes this arbitration-award information available to its members and the public via the Internet for free.

PIABA responded to CCH's good-faith efforts to discuss and negotiate a fair and reasonable resolution by filing a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

"CCH is a staunch defender of open and affordable access to public information," said Peter Berkery, associate publisher of CCH Business and Finance Group. "Investors and the professionals who are paid to represent them may easily seek out and retrieve arbitration-award documents at no cost.

"At the same time, our customers, primarily attorneys and securities professionals, often require more sophisticated applications when conducting legal research on behalf of their clients. This includes CCH-created supplemental information, tools, explanatory and analytical text, as well as an information architecture that generates accurate research that supports clients' claims in court or in arbitration.

"The complexities of the electronic information marketplace cannot simply be set aside by PIABA. With little demonstrated concern for the legal or ethical implications, the organization has lifted a significant percentage of the intellectual property developed and maintained by SAC and CCH with plans to use it solely for its own financial gain."

Source: CCH, Inc., Riverwoods, IL, 847/267-7000; http://www.cch.com.

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