Over the past few years, Energy Intelligence Group (“EIG”) – the New York and London-based publisher of 15 newsletters for the oil and gas industry – has sued more than a dozen energy companies and investment houses, alleging violations of federal copyright law. The alleged violations result from buying subscriptions to its publications (sent by email) and sharing with nonsubscribers in the office via email distribution. EIG has reached confidential settlements in nearly all the cases. The settlements reportedly include an agreement to buy more subscriptions.
One subscriber chose not to settle and faced a $585,000 jury verdict in Houston in December 2017. EIG sued a $30 billion investment firm for sharing its five subscriptions of “Oil Daily,” which is $9 an article and $95 an issue, with others in the firm who did not have their own subscriptions. EIG sought damages not just for its lost subscription revenue but also for all profits that the investment firm made from using the information in the newsletter. The federal jury found the firm liable for copying 39 issues and determined the damages for each instance was $15,000.
It is clear that efforts used by some entities to protect their intellectual property can result in serious consequences. EIG continues to file these lawsuits against existing energy and investment customers, as recently as this week.